WASHINGTON – On Monday, April 16, the directors of the World Bank will meet to decide who will be the powerful development institution’s next president.
On every previous occasion, the United States has without opposition picked an American to head the World Bank, which was founded in 1944. But for the first time this year the US nominee faces a challenger.
Here are the two nominees for the job:
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was nominated by her own country Nigeria as well as South Africa and Angola. The 57-year-old economist and finance minister has already spent more than two decades in numerous positions at the World Bank.
Born into an aristocratic family in southern Nigeria, she studied economics at Harvard and earned a doctorate in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In her most recent position at the Bank, she was managing director under outgoing president Robert Zoellick, before being drafted by the new Nigerian government to oversee financial reforms.
She is married to a surgeon, Ikemba Iweala, and they have 4 children.
Jim Yong Kim, 52, is the US nominee. He was born in South Korea but grew up in rural Iowa. He studied medicine and anthropology at Harvard and taught medicine in several universities.
Between 2003 and 2007, he led a World Health Organization initiative to bring antiretroviral drugs to HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries. A nonprofit he co-founded, Partners in Health, works globally with impoverished communities, including in Haiti and Russia.
His current position is president of Dartmouth College, one of the country’s elite Ivy League universities.
He is married to Younsook Lim, a pediatrician who has worked with HIV-positive children in Africa.
In a recent statment, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the Philippines supports the US-backed nominee. – Agence France-Presse