New Delhi: The World Bank confirmed Wednesday that Ajay Banga will be its next president, handing him the reins at a pivotal time as it looks to reshape its role to better address climate change.
“The Board looks forward to working with Mr. Banga on the World Bank Group Evolution process,” the development lender wrote in a statement published shortly after executives voted to approve his leadership for a five-year term.
The bank also said it looked forward to working with Banga on “all the World Bank Group’s ambitions and efforts aimed at tackling the toughest development challenges facing developing countries.”
Banga, the US candidate who was the sole nominee for the top job, will begin his new role on June 2, taking over from David Malpass who is stepping down early amid criticism over his stance on climate change.
Under an unwritten arrangement, a US citizen has historically held the presidency of the Washington-based development lender, while the International Monetary Fund has been run by a European.
Despite growing public unease over America’s continued grip on the bank’s presidency from developing and emerging economies, the trend continues with Banga, 63, who was born into a Sikh family in India and is a naturalized US citizen.
Banga previously ran the payments company Mastercard for more than a decade between 2010 and 2021. He has also served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.
He told reporters that during his candidacy, he wanted to see greater private sector funding to help tackle financing for global problems.
“There is not enough money without the private sector,” he said, adding that an organization like the World Bank should set up a system that could share risk or mobilize private funds to achieve its goals.
“These are all tools in the toolkit and I’m going to try and figure it out,” he said.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month that she was confident Banga has “the right experience and track record of bringing together governments, the private sector, and non-profits to deliver on our ambitious goals.”