US candidate Jim Yong Kim was selected Monday as the new President of the 187-member World Bank, continuing a tradition in which the US has presided over the Bank since it was established.
At a meeting in Washington, DC, the World Bank’s Executive Directors announced Jim’s appointment to a five-year term starting in July, beating the ‘African candidate’, Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The 52-year-old Jim, a Korean-American, will succeed another American, Mr. Robert Zoellick, whose tenure will expire 30 June.
A few hours before the election, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala virtually conceded defeat when she said the appointment would not be decided on merit.
“You know this thing is not really being decided on merit. It is voting with political weight and shares and therefore the United States will get it,” she said at a function in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja.
The candidacy of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, 57, marked the first challenge to America’s domination of the post, and was a manifestation of the campaign by emerging economies to have greater representation in the Bank.
The contest became a two-way race when one of the three candidates – Colombian ex-Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo – withdrew last week.
Though Mrs Okonjo-Iweala got wide support in Nigeria, the West African sub-region and Africa, it was not enough to give her victory in the race