Jim Kim quits the World Bank, an unexpected gift to Donald Trump
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, has announced that he will retire. This is far earlier than expected. Jim Kim was first appointed in 2011 and was re-elected in 2016 for a five-year term, due to end in 2022.
It was widely assumed that Jim Kim would serve out his full term. Instead, he has abruptly declared that he will retire on 1 February and take up a job with a private investment infrastructure firm. What’s going on?
The president of the World Bank is, in effect, the Pope of the official international development community. He is the ambassador-at-large of “The Bank”. As such, he (the president has always been a “he”) constantly travels the world, giving keynote speeches at major conferences, meeting heads of governments, and holding hundreds of meetings with ministers and officials to discuss development issues.
The World Bank president aims both to shape and to reflect thinking about global development in official circles. In the past, World Bank presidents such as Robert McNamara and Jim Wolfensohn have left their mark on both the work of the Bank itself, and on global thinking about development.
Current practice is that the World Bank president is, in effect, appointed by the President of the United States. Jim Kim was appointed by Barack Obama. It was widely assumed that he had Democratic sympathies. His resignation seems to be an unexpected gift to Donald Trump.
Trump is suddenly in a position to appoint the next president of the World Bank. If he chooses, Trump now has the opportunity to push the Bank towards a more conservative global agenda.
It is very surprising that Jim Kim would create this opportunity for Trump. A range of questions …read more