Jan 10, 2019 by members

Coalition members comment on resignation of World Bank President


January 9, 2019. The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, announced he is stepping down from his position this February 1, 2019 to take a position with Global Infrastructure Partners, a private investment firm that did extensive business with the Bank during Kim’s tenure.

In a blog, Accountability Counsel’s Natalie Bridgeman Fields raises ethics concerns regarding Kim’s transition to a private investment firm, including potential violation of the institution’s own code of conduct. “The priorities he championed of “crowding in the private sector” and dramatically scaling up financial intermediary lending further remove the voice of project-affected people from the Bank’s decision making,” she writes. “We look forward to a future leader who better listens to those the Bank was established to serve and plays to the Bank’s potential strengths in a changing era of competition.”

Many have also raised concern about the possibility that Kim’s replacement will be selected by the US administration, as has been the unwritten agreement at the Bank previously, without a fair selection process.

Oxfam’s Nadia Dar stresses the need to implement Kim’s commitments on climate change and for an “open, transparent and merit-based selection process for Kim’s successor.”

Urgewald’s Knud Voecking commented, “His direct move into the investment industry without any ‘cooling off’ is a scandal. We criticise in the strongest terms that Kim is switching to a field of business which he had endowed with large sums of money during his term of office.” Adding, “[t]he World Bank must serve the interests of the poorest again and must not degenerate into a self-service shop for the investment industry.”

BIC Europe writes: “At a minimum, the Bank must now issue a satisfactory explanation for Kim’s sudden resignation and his immediate move to the private sector.” Also that “a new and more democratic selection procedure must ensure that Kim’s successor is chosen not by the US President but by all stakeholders in a fair and transparent manner, recognising the development mandate at the heart of the World Bank’s mission.”

Bank Information Center calls for any new World Bank president to be committed to implementing the institution’s development mission in a way that is community-driven, reduces inequality, is sustainable, and fulfills human rights.

Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO will assume the role of interim President. Read the World Bank press release here.