Current Events Economics - General

The Physician Banker

On Monday, the World Bank announced that its new president would be American Jim Yong Kim.

Unlike previous World Bank Presidents, who typically have economics, finance or business backgrounds, Kim is a physician who built his reputation developing public health programs for poor countries.

Not everyone likes the decision.

A physician with a doctorate in anthropology, Kim was criticized by some development professionals concerned that his narrow expertise was wrong for such a diverse institution. The bank offers loans and grants to the poorest nations and pursues an array of projects in better-developed nations as well — from helping fund power plants and other infrastructure to helping countries strengthen their financial markets and government institutions.

Nigeria is unhappy that their candidate, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was not chosen.

[Analyst for the African Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development Otive] Igbuzor said in a phone interview that without providing a greater role to emerging economies, the World Bank risked irrelevance — and a threat that in future those economies could form their own development bank.

What should be Kim’s first course of action?  Take a look at the opinions from guest posts at the Guardian and the Financial Times.

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