The former Mastercard Inc. chief Ajay Banga is set to be the first Indian-American from the Sikh community to become the President of the World Bank as the sole nominee for the post.
The World Bank has confirmed the nomination of the Indian-American business leader Ajay Banga as the sole candidate for the position of President after they closed the month-long window for the nominations of the new President with the 63-year-old Banga remaining the sole nominee. No alternate candidate for this prestigious position was proposed by any other country.
President Joe Biden announced the nomination of the former Mastercard CEO as the next President of the World Bank on Thursday, days after the Donald Trump appointee David Malpass’s step-down from the position was announced. According to reports, the choice was made after Banga proved his “expertise in handling global challenges including climate change”.
Biden also commented, “Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history. He has critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.”
The bank released a statement: “In accordance with established procedures, the executive directors will conduct a formal interview with the candidate in Washington, DC, and expect to conclude the presidential selection in due course.”
Though David Malpass’s five-year term as the World Bank President was supposed to conclude in April 2024, he planned to step down from his position in June, which provided the USA to come up with a leadership that would be competent to lead the 189-nation poverty reduction organization for the welfare of the countries in dire need of financial aid.
Given the common ground that the US government found with Ajay Banga in their aim to prioritize the issue regarding the impact of climate change, they believe it would now be easier to mobilize the financial institutions towards the cause.
Previously the World Bank has come under severe scrutiny as it was accused of discrimination against certain underdeveloped nations. Fuel was added to the fire after David Malpass’s comments at a conference where he questioned and expressed his doubts on the science behind the rise in global temperature due to the burning of fossil fuels.
Banga, 63, would be the first-ever Indian-American belonging to the Sikh community to be the head of this international financial institution. The former MasterCard Inc. chief has been currently serving as the Vice Chairman at General Atlantic.
Though Banga received overwhelming support from countries globally, including India, reports about China being skeptical about backing Banga have made an appearance, in addition to saying that they would be “open” to supporting “other potential candidates” based on their merit.
During a Congress hearing, the Secretary of the US Treasury Janet Yellen commented: “Over the next few months, you will see the World Bank undergo an important transition. We expect that Ajay Banga – President Biden’s nominee – will be elected President of the World Bank.” She added, “He will be charged with accelerating our progress to evolve the institution to better address 21st-century challenges. This evolution will help the Bank deliver on its vital poverty alleviation and development goals.”
Bamga had been awarded the Padma Shri in 2016 and has worked closely with Vice President Kamala Harris as the Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America.