U.S. citizen will again hold the World Bank top job

The directors of the World Bank have named another American, Jim Yong Kim, to be the president of the global development agency.

Kim is a physician, anthropologist, and president of Dartmouth College. Previously, he ran the United Nations efforts to fight AIDS, created a non-governmental organization to promote health care for impoverished nations, and taught at Harvard University. Kim will serve a five-year term that begins July 1. He will succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in June.

In a note to journalists Monday, Kim said he will seek a new alignment of the bank to reflect a rapidly changing world and seek inclusive growth.

U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Kim for the post and congratulated him on taking the job. Obama also said the other candidates from Nigeria and Colombia offered outstanding qualifications and commitment.

Under an informal agreement, a U.S. national has always headed the World Bank, while a European has always headed the International Monetary Fund.

Critics call that agreement outdated and unfair.

This is the first time that there has been formal competition for the World Bank’s top job.

The directors passed over Nigeria’s respected finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Colombia’s former finance minister and development expert, José Antonio Ocampo. Ocampo withdrew his candidacy last Friday.

Okonjo-Iweala, who held top level posts at the bank for years, told the French news agency that this selection was not based on merit, but said her participation would help change the process.

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