Favorite for World Bank leaders Banga courts support

Favorite for World Bank leaders Banga courts support

Ajay Banga

The 63-year-old was proposed by US President Joe Biden.

(Photo: Reuters)

Brussels The times when the World Bank as a key player in the global economic policy was long gone. Globalization is in retreat and the World Bank is struggling to stay relevant. So it’s not an easy task that awaits Ajay Banga – if all goes smoothly over the next few weeks.

US President Joe Biden has the former Mastercardboss proposed as future World Bank director, Banga is the only candidate so far. Nevertheless, he does not want to leave anything to chance, travels around the world and solicits support. On Tuesday, the 63-year-old stopped in Brussels, where he held talks on the sidelines of the meeting of EU finance ministers. Banga’s message was well received by the Europeans: He wants to put climate change at the center of his work.

In fact, the mission of the World Bank is clearly defined. Fighting poverty, it says. But Banga argues that global warming threatens progress made over the past few decades in tackling global inequality: “Climate change has a direct impact on development policies,” he said. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) described the candidate as a “considerable and remarkable proposal”, not least because Banga is an “experienced banker”.

Banga is from India and has worked in London, Brussels, New York and Hong Kong. From 2010 to 2020 he led the credit card provider Mastercardbefore that he worked for the US Bank Citigroup. His career reflects the heyday of globalization, which is now due to geopolitical tensions between major economic powers USA and China faces an uncertain future.

Banga wants to try to keep the World Bank out of this conflict. Problems like climate change know no borders, that’s how he sees it. With his focus on climate protection, Banga breaks with the policies of his predecessor at the top of the World Bank: David Malpass doubted climate change, which is why he fell out of favor with President Biden. Traditionally, the US government chooses the head of the World Bank, while the Europeans get the job done by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While this arrangement is inconsistent with the growing political and economic importance of emerging economies, it persists. Banga’s Indian roots will help dampen criticism of the move in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has already secured the support of the government in New Delhi.

More: The World Bank must become bolder – an op-ed by Mia Amor Mottley and Svenja Schulze.

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