World Bank’s Kim seeks second term amid calls to end successive American presidencies

25 Aug 2016, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


The World Bank Group Staff Association has said the bank is experiencing a crisis of leadership.

Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank

The World Bank will on Thursday begin accepting nominations for its presidency in a move that is widely expected to favour incumbent president, Jim Yong Kim, whose five-year term expires on June 30, 2017.

The Washington D.C.-based institution said it will conduct “an open, merit-based and transparent selection process” using principles approved in 2011, which resulted in Kim’s appointment in 2012. Nominations will close on September 14.

Kim, a global public health expert and former president of Dartmouth College, has notified the World Bank’s board of his intention to seek a second term in office.

“I have informed the Dean of the Board that I would be honoured to be considered for a second term as head of the World Bank and continue to work with its dedicated staff,” Kim said in a statement. “Together, we have accomplished so much over the past four years, and I would be proud to carry on this important work.”

The 56-year-old South Korean-American has also secured the backing of the United States, the World Bank’s largest shareholder, for a second term.

“The United States fully supports Dr. Kim’s presidency at the World Bank, including the steps he’s taken to enact important reforms,” a US Treasury spokesman said in a statement. “We defer to the board of directors on the process and timing of any governance issues.”

Kim has been a controversial figure among World Bank staff due to his aggressive restructuring of the bank’s operations. Earlier this month, the bank’s staff association sent a letter to the board, calling for, amongst other things, an end to successive American presidencies of the bank.

“Our annual Employee Engagement Survey has, for two years running, made it painfully clear that the World Bank Group is experiencing a crisis of leadership,” the World Bank Group Staff Association said in the letter.

Under an unwritten agreement between pioneer Western members, the World Bank presidency goes to an American citizen while the position for Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, a sister institution, goes to a European citizen.

However, during the 2012 presidential selection process, some emerging market countries rallied behind Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s ex-finance minister and former World Bank Managing Director, in a futile effort to challenge Kim, the US candidate.