David Malpass has stepped down as president of the World Bank, with a year still left before the end of his five-year term.
Appointed by US President Donald Trump in 2019, Malpass, an economic analyst, resigned months after he faced criticism for being a climate change denier. In September, during an interview, he had dithered and declined to agree that fossil fuel consumption is warming the planet.
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Malpass later acknowledged manmade climate change and improved climate financing at the World Bank, doubling its climate commitments to $32 billion. In his resignation statement, Malpass said he quit early to “pursue new challenges” and “provide opportunity for a smooth leadership transfer.”
His retirement coincides with efforts by Janet Yellen, the US treasury secretary, to reform the World Bank and increase climate-related loans. In mid-April, Yellen said, World Bank governors will adopt updates to the institution’s vision and mission
Traditionally, the US chooses World Bank presidents, and its choices have invariably been American bankers or economists. But not only are US priorities increasingly out of step with the goals of international financial institutions, chair of the US Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum Mark Sobel wrote, but the choice of a non-American bank president would counter regionalism.
The World Bank gives developing nations billions every year; in 2022, it committed $104 billion to projects around the world. But the bank has been criticised for not sufficiently helping climate-impacted countries and for burdening poor countries with debt. A non-American head would do more than symbolically herald a new world order; they would also come with a different understanding of the most urgent priorities facing developing, climate-hit nations today.
It doesn’t, however, seem like the Biden administration is in the mood to break the unwritten code of the World Bank presidency. Rajiv Shah, the head of the Rockefeller Foundation; Samantha Power, the former US ambassador to the UN; and Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of Pepsico have all been floated as potential replacements for Malpass by global development experts – and they’re all American.
Read the full article published by Quartz HERE.
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