The World Bank Group’s executive directors have yet to settle on a candidate to replace the outgoing president, who will depart the development lending organisation in three weeks to join a New York-based investment firm.
A list of candidates for the World Bank president has been floated as its current head, Jim Yong Kim, has announced his intention to step down on 1 February after more than six years at the organisation’s helm.
According to a long-standing tradition, the World Bank is led by an American pick: the United States nominates the president as the largest shareholder in the financial institution. The US Treasury Department is said to have already received “a significant number of recommendations for good candidates” and kicked off “the internal review process” to decide on the candidate.
Those on the list, the Financial Times reports, include David Malpass, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for International Affairs, Nikki Haley, who served as US envoy to the United Nations in 2017-2018, Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development, and last but not least, Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
Ivanka Trump, 37, serves as a senior adviser to the president; she shut down her own fashion label in July, saying that she would focus on her job in the White House. Reports said, however, that her brand sales had suffered a rapid decline after her father had become president. She was also instrumental in the launch of the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which seeks to mobilise $1 billion in donor funding for women-owned small and medium-sized firms in developing countries.
It also emerged that this year could mark a step away from the decades-long tradition of nominating Americans to the high-profile post. The World Bank board has started an “open, merit-based and transparent” selection process, which means that the candidate choice may not depend on nationality.
The FT reports that other alternatives are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former economy minister who lost to the outgoing World Bank president in 2012, Donald Kaberuka, the former president of the African Development Bank, and Sri Mulyani, Indonesia’s finance minister and ex-managing director of the World Bank Group.
However, some pundits say that the international financial community is not prepared for a non-American nominee at the moment. “It is a very complicated game”, opined David Dollar, a former World Bank official and the Treasury’s economic and financial emissary to China. “My instinct is that there is a very strong likelihood that the US nominee will be approved. The world has an interest in the US staying engaged with the World Bank.”