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by Lily Robertson
Despite criticism in recent months that the election process is too politically motivated, Jim Yong Kim, the US-backed candidate for the World Bank presidency, has been announced as the new leader replacing current president Robert Zoellick. Korean-born Jim Yong Kim was formerly the 17th President of Dartmouth University.
His leading opponent was current Nigerian finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who posed the first real threat to a U.S candidate in the World Bank’s history according the The Guardian. Her financial background, as well as former role as Managing Director within the World Bank were considered by some to be a better fit than Kim’s background which is primarily as a public health expert rather than economist.
Despite losing out on the role Okonjo-Iweala has confidence that the U.S’s influence on the process will change in the future, saying in the article, “We have won important victories … We have shown what is possible. Our credible and merit-based challenge to a long-standing and unfair tradition will ensure the process of choosing a World Bank president will never be the same again. The hands of the clock cannot be turned back.”
In an interview with the BBC Kim said his background as a physician meant his focus will be on evidence instead of ideology to solve problems. “If we can focus on the evidence of what is actually working and adapt those evidence-based interventions to local context, I think we can be very successful.”