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Responses To U.S. Nomination Of Jim Kim For World Bank Presidency

The following is a summary of several recent pieces published in response to the U.S. nomination of Jim Yong Kim to be the next president of the World Bank.

  • Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign Relations’ “Expert Brief”: “President Barack Obama’s surprise nomination of Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank has revived debate over the presidency remaining in U.S. hands,” Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the council, writes. “The Bank has long been a major player in global health and development, dating to the 1968-1981 presidency of Robert McNamara,” she continues, adding, “An examination of the Bank’s historical role in advancing worldwide health care and Kim’s high-profile efforts to combat tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS offers a sense of the challenges that could await him.” She concludes that “the new president must steer every Bank program toward truly transformative investments, elevating the most impoverished states into sustained governance, finance, agricultural production, and health” (4/13).
  • Matthew Kavanaugh, Huffington Post Blog: “Jim Kim represents a break from the past — as both his supporters and detractors agree — and would surely steer the Bank in new directions,” Kavanaugh, director of U.S. advocacy at Health GAP (Global Access Project), writes. “What seems to be unsaid in discussions of Dr. Kim, however, is that the new direction is likely toward a focus the stated mission of the bank: the elimination of poverty,” he continues, concluding, “We need an expert in delivering development and cutting through policies that have failed in the past. Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s track record shows he can pull off exactly that” (4/13).
  • Lant Pritchett, New Republic: “Outsiders must be a little mystified as to why the Obama administration’s nomination of Jim Young Kim to lead the World Bank has kicked up so much dust in the development community,” Pritchett, professor of the practice of international development at the Harvard Kennedy School, writes. He continues, “[T]he controversy over Kim’s nomination is not really about Kim himself. It’s a debate about a philosophical schism in the development community.” Pritchett describes “humane development” versus “national development” and says the World Bank would be better served by an individual who has been involved with the latter, such as the other nominee, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (4/11).
  • Anjali Sastry and Rebecca Weintraub, Harvard University’s “Global Health Delivery Project” (GHD): “Over the years, we’ve seen Dr. Kim at work as leader and strategist, marshaling creativity, ideas, skills, and knowledge in business, economics, and development in order to deliver — more effectively than ever before — needed services, goods, and knowledge to communities that are too often ignored,” Sastry, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Weintraub, executive director of GHD, write. They continue, “Now that he’s nominated to the presidency of the World Bank, we agree with others: it’s an inspired choice” (4/13).