The surprise departure of Jim Yong Kim from the World Bank (WB) represents a major challenge for President Donald Trump, who is very critical of multilateralism and who must appoint a candidate who will be backed by the rest of the international community.
Established in 1944, together with its sister institution the International Monetary Fund (IMF), within the framework of the Bretton Woods agreements, tradition establishes that it is the United States that names the president of the WB while Europe chooses the Fund.
“I think that of course, and following the tradition, the US will nominate a candidate, although I foresee very uncertain what will happen on this occasion (…) given that this president (Trump) is not terribly popular among the rest. of countries, “Scott Morris, a former US Treasury official and researcher at the Center for Global Development (CGDEV), told Efe.
The task will not be easy since the WB, under the direction of Kim, has become one of the spearheads of the fight against climate change and global warming, issues to which Trump has shown a belligerent skepticism in spite of the empirical evidence.
In fact, the president announced the withdrawal of the US. of the Paris Climate Agreement shortly after reaching the White House, a measure severely criticized by partners and allies, to ensure that it is a disaster for the interests of their country.
The World Bank is also one of the foundations of the multilateral system, something also the object of repeated attacks by the New York mogul; and the institution has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for the development of China, which considers Beijing as its great global adversary
Therefore, the departure three and a half years ahead of schedule of Kim, appointed by his predecessor Barack Obama, generates a significant diplomatic vacuum and forces Trump to take a step forward.
For Morris, this situation represents a “real challenge” for the US Administration.
“It could be a real problem for the US candidate to be rejected by the World Bank for the first time in history, so it requires a degree of mental openness on the part of Washington to carefully choose their candidate that is acceptable to the US. other countries, “said the expert.
It is to be foreseen, in addition, that as it happened during the selection of Kim other candidates appear that put in interdict the tacit agreement between USA. and Europe with the argument of demanding greater representation of emerging markets, although it is more likely that the rest of the countries will wait for Trump’s proposal.
Among the names that have begun to be heard is Indra Nooyi, Indian-American and former CEO of PepsiCo, which offers the option to Trump to name the one who would be the first woman to head the WB without causing international commotion.
In 2012, the Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Colombian José Antonio Ocampo, who could try again, have already started to meet other possible non-US candidates like the Indonesian Sri Mulyani.
This Wednesday, the Executive Board of the organization met and established the process for the election of who will succeed Kim, with the reception of candidacies between February 7 and March 14.
The selection, he remarked, will be “based on merit and will be transparent”.
The goal is to clear the question soon and have a new president before the next spring meeting of the WB and the IMF to be held between April 12 and 14 in Washington. (EFEUSA) .-