Okonjo-Iweala loses World Bank job to America's Kim

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has failed to clinch the coveted World Bank president position as the bank has expectedly named America’s Jim Yong Kim, a global health expert and the president of Dartmouth College, as its next president.

In a widely expected appointment that continues the longstanding tradition of an American leading the Washington-based development institution, Kim, a South Korean-American Medical doctor was selected by the bank’s 25-member executive board on Monday.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala gunned for the bank’s topmost position with her credentials as a former vice-president of the institution. She also said she represented the interest of the emerging market sector of world economy.

Although she enlisted support of some of the emerging market countries, it was not enough for her break to America’s hold on the position. 

The bank, in a statement on Monday, said its board chose Mr. Kim after he “received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates.”


Admitting defeat


Earlier in the day while the voting was ongoing, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala admitted defeat before reporters in Abuja saying the voting “is not done on merit.”


“You know, this thing is not being decided on merit,” she said. “It is voting with political wits and *strengths and therefore America will get it.”


Dr Kim’s Profile


Dr. Kim as President will begin his five-year on July 1, 2012. The President is Chair of the Boards of Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).


He will also assume the ex officio Chair of the Boards of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).


Dr. Kim is currently President of Dartmouth College. A U.S. national, Dr. Kim is a co-founder of Partners in Health (PIH) and a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO).


Before assuming the Dartmouth presidency, Dr. Kim held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He also served as chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and director of the François Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.


Dr. Kim was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (2003), was named one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by US News & World Report (2005), and was selected as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” (2006).


He is married to Dr. Younsook Lim, a pediatrician. The couple has two young sons.


 

Read full World Bank’s statement below.

The Executive Directors met today to select a new President of the World Bank Group. The Board expressed its deep gratitude for Mr. Robert B. Zoellick’s outstanding leadership and his dedication to reducing poverty in its member countries, the core mandate of the World Bank Group.

The Executive Directors followed the new selection process agreed in 2011 which, for the first time in the Bank’s history, yielded multiple nominees. This process included an open nomination where any national of the Bank’s membership could be proposed by any Executive Director or Governor, publication of the names of the candidates, interviews of the candidates by the Executive Directors, and final selection of the President.

The Executive Directors selected Dr. Jim Yong Kim as President for a five-year term beginning on July 1, 2012. The President is Chair of the Boards of Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The President is also ex officio Chair of the Boards of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

We, the Executive Directors, wish to express our deep appreciation to all the nominees, Jim Yong Kim, José Antonio Ocampo and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Their candidacies enriched the discussion of the role of the President and of the World Bank Group’s future direction. The final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates. We all look forward to working with Dr. Kim when he assumes his responsibilities.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim is currently President of Dartmouth College. A U.S. national, Dr. Kim is a co-founder of Partners in Health (PIH) and a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO). Before assuming the Dartmouth presidency, Dr. Kim held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He also served as chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and director of the François Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Kim was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (2003), was named one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by US News & World Report (2005), and was selected as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” (2006). He was elected in 2004 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences—one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine—for his professional achievements and commitment to service. He has published widely over the past two decades, authoring or co-authoring articles for leading academic and scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and Science.

Born in 1959 in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Kim moved with his family to the United States at the age of five and grew up in Muscatine, Iowa. Dr. Kim graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1982. He earned a medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School in 1991 and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University in 1993. He is married to Dr. Younsook Lim, a pediatrician. The couple has two young sons.

 

 

 


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