A page turned at the World Bank. By appointing Indian-American Ajay Banga as its chairman on Wednesday, May 3, The member states of the Board of Directors have entrusted it with a delicate task: to increase the financing capabilities of the world’s largest multilateral development bank, while at the same time strengthening its role in the fight against climate change.
This new direction is far from unanimous. At a time when low- and middle-income economies are suffocating under debt burdens, many low-income countries worry that the fight against poverty will come at a cost. “The expectations and pressures on the company are enormous, According to Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)., this is an opportunity for her to prove that she can evolve and change. »
The new leader, 63, is not an economist or a senior civil servant in the US administration, like many of his predecessors, but a manager experienced in the art of business transformation.
“Bringing together partner and client countries”
After leaving the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, western India, he started working at Nestlé, then PepsiCo, before joining Bank Citigroup and finally, he was appointed as the head of payments card company Mastercard. Becoming a Solution Provider “connection”.
He is also a member of the board of directors of the American company Dow Chemical, between 2013 and 2021, and the former owner of the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, where a gas leak in December 1984 killed thousands of people. A company is still accused of shirking its responsibilities while chemical residues seep into groundwater, poisoning people, causing cancer, respiratory and neurological disorders or birth defects.
Every president of the World Bank is a US citizen, except Ajay Banga, and Jim Yong Kim (2012–2019) is of foreign origin. “His profile will no doubt help him bring the World Bank’s partner and client countries closer together, which is critical to the institution’s vitality and legitimacy”Clemens Landers, a researcher at the Washington-based Center for Global Development think tank believes so. “This is a meeting that will allow the US, the World Bank’s largest shareholder, to come closer to India.”Adds Caroline Freund, dean of the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego and a former World Bank official.
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