Ajay Banga is POTUS’ choice for World Bank presidentship
Washington: United States President Joe Biden today announced that he has nominated Ajay Banga, an Indian-American business executive, for the position of World Bank president. Banga, at present, serves as vice chairman of General Atlantic – a leading global growth equity investor. Earlier he spent 11 years as Mastercard’s President and Chief Executive Officer before becoming the company’s Executive Chairman.
It may be mentioned that on February 15, 2023, World Bank Group President David Malpass informed the Board of Executive Directors of his intention to step down from his position by the end of the Bank Group’s fiscal year on June 30 after serving more than four years. Following his announcement to step down, the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group met under the Chairship of its Dean, Koen Davidse, to discuss the selection process for the next President of the World Bank Group, on February 22, 2023.
63-year-old Banga is the son of an Indian Army officer. He was raised in Pune and he became a US citizen in 2007. In 2016, he was conferred the Padma Shri by the Indian government.
While announcing Banga’s nomination, President Biden described him as a business leader with extensive experience leading successful organizations in developing countries and forging public-private partnerships to address financial inclusion and climate change, to be President of the World Bank. “Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history,” Biden stated. He added that Banga had a proven track record managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results.
“He also has critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change. Raised in India, Ajay has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries and how the World Bank can deliver on its ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and expand prosperity,” the US President said.”
A White House release highlighted his career achievements and mentioned that over the course of his career, Banga has become a global leader in technology, data, financial services and innovating for inclusion. He is the Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman from 2020-2022. He is also Chairman of Exor and Independent Director at Temasek. He became an advisor to General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero, at its inception in 2021. He previously served on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc. Ajay has worked closely with Vice President Harris as the Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission, a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.
Banga is also a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York and served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He is a past member of the United States President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
US Vice President Kamala Harris, who herself has her roots in India, said that Banga will be a “transformative World Bank President as the institution works to deliver on its core development goals and address pressing global challenges, including climate change”.
She recounted that since she was elected Vice President, she worked closely with Banga on a new model of public-private partnership designed to address the root causes of migration in Northern Central America. Through that partnership, nearly 50 businesses and organizations have mobilized to generate more than $4.2 billion in commitments that will create opportunity and hope for people in the region. “Ajay has brought great insight, energy, and persistence to the challenges of promoting economic development and tackling the root causes of migration,” she said.
Decisions such as Banga’s nominations involve officials across the Executive Branch of the United States. “He’s a truly exceptional candidate, and his leadership and management skills, his experience living and working in emerging markets, his financial expertise – all of that will help him achieve the bank’s objectives of eliminating extreme poverty and expanding prosperity around the world, while also evolving the bank to meet the transnational challenges we’ve talked about, including – and perhaps most notably – climate change,” a US State Department spokesperson stated.
A renowned executive, Banga has led a large organization with some 20,000 employees. He’s advocated for diversity and inclusion; he’s delivered results at every turn. His efforts have helped bring 500 million unbanked people into the digital economy, deploy private capital into climate solutions, and expand economic opportunity through the Partnership for Central America.
“We are excited to see his nomination, and ultimately it will be up to the World Bank’s board to make the final decision,” the US State Department stated.
The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors on February 22, 2023 affirmed its commitment to an open, merit-based and transparent selection process for its next President. Candidates for the position should meet the following criteria:
- a proven track record of leadership and accomplishment, particularly in development;
- experience of managing large organizations with international exposure, and a familiarity with the public sector;
- the ability to articulate a clear vision of the World Bank Group’s development mission;
- a firm commitment to and appreciation for multilateral cooperation; and,
- effective communication and diplomatic skills, impartiality and objectivity in the performance of the responsibilities of the position.
Candidate nominations were to be submitted during a period starting on Thursday, February 23, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and ending on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. EST. Following the close of the nomination period, the Executive Directors will decide on a shortlist of up to three candidates and publish the names of the shortlisted candidates with their consent. Formal interviews of all shortlisted candidates will be conducted by Executive Directors with the expectation of selecting the new President by early May 2023.
– global bihari bureau