World Bank picks health expert Kim as president, over Okonjo Iweala

Jim Yong Kim, the U.S. nominee for the next World Bank president, leaves Finance Ministry after meeting in Tokyo

(Reuters) – The World Bank on Monday chose Korean-born American health expert Jim Yong Kim as its new president, maintaining Washington’s grip on the job and leaving developing countries questioning the selection process.

Kim, 52, won the job over Nigeria’s widely respected finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, with the support of Washington’s allies in Western Europe, Japan, Canada and some emerging market economies, including Russia, Mexico and South Korea.

Unlike previous World Bank elections, the decision was not unanimous. “The final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates,” the Bank said in announcing its board’s decision.

Kim, president of Dartmouth College, will assume his new post on July 1 after the Bank’s current president, Robert Zoellick, steps down.

The United States has held the presidency since the World Bank’s founding after World War Two, while a European has always led its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund.

Unlike previous heads of the World Bank, Kim is not a politician, a banker or diplomat. He is a trained physician and anthropologist who has worked to bring health care to the poor in developing countries, whether fighting tuberculosis in Haiti and Peru or tackling HIV/AIDS in Russian prisons.

There had been a three-way contest for the presidency of the poverty-fighting institution until Friday when former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo withdrew. He said the process, which was meant to be based solely on credentials, had become highly political.

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan welcomed the fact that non-Americans competed for the post for the first time, but also said there were concerns the process was not fully merit-based.

“I think we are going to find that the process falls short of that,” Gordhan told the Foreign Correspondent’s Association in South Africa, adding that there were also “serious concerns” the decision was made without full transparency.



  1. I think the u.s has no trust yet on nigerians. Maybe due the high rate of corruption that has crippled the nation’s economy.

  2. Who says the process was not transparent enough? Ngozi Iweala is cannot be the IBRD president because US and other great powers in the global polity cannot afford to inject a candidate with corrupt and mindless antecedents to pilot the affairs of the World Bank. Regardless of the discipline of Dr. kim Lim as a Physician, his antecedents are devoid of filthiness as we certainly have of our “African Queen”. Let prove her potentials and competency in revamping our economy to pave her way into the noble seat of the World Bank. I make bold to say, this issue of no transparency and what have you should be dropped but rather evaluate Dr. kim and Dr. Iweala via their respective achievements and feat in restructuring the World.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here