President Joe Biden announced the nomination of former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to be the head of the World Bank on Thursday, praising his crucial expertise in global issues, including climate change.
The information was released just days after David Malpass, a Trump nominee, declared his intention to leave his position as director of the 189-nation body tasked with reducing poverty. In April 2024, his five-year term was set to end.
The U.S. considers it a priority to address the effects of climate change at the international bank. Leading environmentalists have also pushed the Biden administration to take advantage of Malpass’s early retirement to revamp the influential financial institution, which has come under fire for being unfriendly to less wealthy countries and initiatives to combat climate change.
Malpass received fire last year for appearing to question the research proving that burning fossil fuels causes global warming in remarks made at a conference.
However, he expressed regret and stated he had made a mistake, stressing that the bank frequently uses climate science.
With more than 30 years of commercial experience, Banga, a vice chairman at the private equity company General Atlantic, has held various positions at Mastercard and sat on the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc boards. He is the first Indian-born candidate for president of the World Bank.
In a statement, Biden said that Banga “has crucial expertise leveraging public-private resources to solve the most serious challenges of our day, including climate change.”
He added, “Ajay is uniquely suited to lead the World Bank at this important juncture in history.”
Banga’s experience “will help him achieve the World Bank’s objectives of eliminating extreme poverty and expanding shared prosperity while pursuing the changes needed to effectively evolve the institution,” according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who also noted that he will help meet “ambitious goals for climate adaptation and emissions reduction.”
The United States typically chooses the World Bank president. The International Monetary Fund’s chief executive officer generally hails from Europe.
Yet, some have demanded that this arrangement end and that poor nations be given more clout in the two organizations.
The World Bank announced it would accept nominations through March 29 and conduct “an open, merit-based and transparent selection process′′.
The bank is pressured to do more to assist developing nations with financing climate change preparation and mitigation programs without placing them under undue financial strain.