The World Bank’s board of governors on Wednesday elected former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to a five-year term as president.
This marks the beginning of a new era in which the organization will be restructured by Mr. Banga to address global challenges such as climate change.
In late February, US President Joe Biden nominated 63-year-old Banga as the sole contender to replace departing World Bank chief David Malpass. Malpass, who is an economist and former US Treasury official that served in the Trump administration, will be succeeded by Banga, who will officially start her new job on June 2.
Biden expressed his congratulations to Banga for his “resounding approval” to lead the World Bank, which he hailed as one of the most crucial institutions for reducing poverty and promoting global prosperity.
“Ajay Banga will be a transformative leader, bringing expertise, experience, and innovation to the position of World Bank President,” Biden said. “He will help steer the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly affect its core mission of poverty reduction — including climate change,” he said.
According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Banga possesses the appropriate leadership and management abilities required for the role, and he will be instrumental in implementing further reforms, such as creating collaborations between the public and private sectors as well as non-profit organizations.
“Ajay understands that the challenges we face – from combatting climate change, pandemics, and fragility to eliminating extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity – are deeply intertwined. He has effectively built a broad global coalition around his vision for the Bank over the course of his candidacy,” Yellen said in a statement.
Since its inception at the end of World War II, the World Bank has been headed by an American, while a European has traditionally led the International Monetary Fund.
Banga, who was born in India and spent his early career there, has been a US citizen since 2007.
He has reportedly held meetings with representatives from 96 governments since his nomination. He embarked on a three-week global tour to engage with government officials, business leaders, and civil society groups, visiting eight countries and covering a total distance of 39,546 miles (63,643 km).