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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » Ajay Banga will be a 'transformative leader': Biden

Ajay Banga will be a 'transformative leader': Biden

By Lalit K Jha
May 05, 2023 11:21 IST
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Ajay Banga will be a 'transformative leader', who will bring expertise, experience, and innovation to the position of World Bank president, United States President Joe Biden has said after the top Indian-American business executive was confirmed as the new head of the international lender.

IMAGE: United States President Joe Biden, with newly elected World Bank president Ajay Banga, at the Oval Office. Photograph: Courtesy @POTUS/Twitter

The Executive Directors of the World Bank on Wednesday selected Banga as the 14th President of the bank for a five-year term beginning June 2.

He became the first-ever Indian-American to head the Washington-based bank and will replace David Malpass.


In February, President Biden announced that the US would nominate Banga, 63, to lead the World Bank because he is 'well equipped' to lead the global institution at 'this critical moment in history'.

"Ajay Banga will be a transformative leader, bringing expertise, experience, and innovation to the position of World Bank President. And together with World Bank leadership and shareholders, he will help steer the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly affect its core mission of poverty reduction -- including climate change," Biden said on Wednesday.

"Ajay will also be integral in bringing together the public and private sectors, alongside philanthropies, to usher in the fundamental changes in development finance that this moment requires," said the president congratulating his nominee for the next President of the World Bank on his resounding approval by the Bank's Board of Governors.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga will play a critical role in undertaking a vital effort to evolve the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to redouble their work on global challenges like climate change in a way that accelerates progress on national development priorities.

"His track record of forging partnerships between the public sector, private sector, and non-profits uniquely equips him to help mobilise private capital and press for the reforms needed to meet our shared ambitions. In doing so, the World Bank can serve as a force multiplier for good by setting the right agenda and catalysing action from across the spectrum," she said.

After he was nominated for this position, Banga, who worked at Nestle and Citigroup before joining Mastercard, spent the last couple of months travelling around the world, including India, and meeting with governments from the World Bank's diverse shareholder base and stakeholders from both the private and philanthropic sectors.

India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also congratulated Banga on his appointment.

'Hearty congratulations Ajay Banga on being selected as the President of @WorldBank,' she tweeted on Thursday.

'I am confident that you'll bring your wide experience in the corporate world for meeting the goals of the Bank,' the minister tweeted from Incheon, South Korea, where she is attending the Asian Development Bank's annual meeting.

Meanwhile, senior Biden administration officials have welcomed Banga's appointment.

"Today's vote is an indication that he's gained widespread support from across that shareholder base with resounding approval from the shareholders. Ajay himself is a business leader with decades of experience leading large global organisations forging public-private partnerships to address financial inclusion and climate change," a senior administration official told reporters.

"We are confident that Ajay is going to play a key role in steering the World Bank to evolve itself to address global challenges like climate change, pandemics, fragility conflict, or effectively at greater scale, and in doing so will help fulfil the President's vision and the priorities placed around exactly those goals," the official said.

"While the World Bank will continue to play a key role in improving the lives of people around the globe. I can't do it alone, and Ajay's track record of forging partnerships between the public sector and the private sector and non-profit is uniquely equipped to help mobilise the private capital and press for the reforms needed to meet our shared ambition," said the official.

Another senior official said that Banga's appointment was a really good day for the World Bank.

"And it's a really good day for the countries and the people who seek to partner with the World Bank, particularly in a very difficult time for emerging and developing countries. Awe think he is the right person for this moment, including on a very important and weepy evolution agenda that might describe that well," the official said.

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Lalit K Jha
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