Washington- Former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga was confirmed on Wednesday to serve as the 14th president of the World Bank and will begin his five-year term at the helm of the institution next month.
Banga it was appointed to the role from President Joe Biden in February and will succeed David Malpass as World Bank president. Malpass was tapped for the role by former President Donald Trump and announced earlier this year that he intended to step down about a year early.
Mr. Biden extended congratulations to Banga on his “resounding endorsement” by the World Bank’s Board of Governors and predicted he would be a “transformative leader”.
“Together with the World Bank’s leadership and shareholders, he will help guide the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly impact its core mission of poverty reduction, including climate change,” the president said. . “Ajay will also be integral in bringing together the public and private sectors, along with philanthropies, to usher in the fundamental shifts in development finance that this moment requires.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga would play a “pivotal role” in the World Bank’s efforts to address global challenges such as climate change and praised her record of working in the public and private sectors.
“Ajay understands that the challenges we face — from tackling climate change, pandemics and fragility, to eradicating extreme poverty and fostering shared prosperity — are deeply intertwined,” Yellen said in a statement. “He has effectively built a broad global coalition around his vision of the Bank over the course of his candidacy.”
The leader of the World Bank has been a US citizen since its founding after World War II, and the candidate presented by the United States is traditionally chosen to lead the bank.
Banga, who grew up in India, will join the World Bank from private equity firm General Atlantic, where he serves as a vice chairman. He worked for more than a decade at Mastercard, as president and chief executive officer, and then as executive president. Banga was also managing director of Citigroup’s Asia-Pacific region and worked with Nestle in India for 13 years. He has served on the boards of directors of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.
Banga’s choice to replace Malpass comes after the latter came under fire after he refused to say at a New York Times event in September whether he believed the burning of fossil fuels was causing global warming. Instead, Malpass declared “I’m not a scientist,” a comment that prompted claims that he is a climate change denier.
The World Bank leader sought to clarify his position, telling CNN International that he is “not a denialist” and “it is clear” that greenhouse gas emissions come from man-made sources, including fossil fuels.
“We are working hard to change that,” Malpass said.
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