US picks Kim for World Bank seat

US picks Kim for World Bank seat

US picks Kim for World Bank seat

Obama stands with Jim Yong Kim, his nominee to be the next World Bank head. AP photo

The United States picked a public health expert of South Korean origin as its candidate for the World Bank presidency, a job emerging market economies are contesting for the first time.

In an announcement on March 23 at the White House President Barack Obama said he was nominating Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization.

“It is time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency,” Obama said flanked by Kim, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Angola, Nigeria and South Africa have endorsed the nomination of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a respected economist and diplomat, as a candidate to take over the bank when Robert Zoellick steps down in June.

“The endorsement is in line with the belief that the appointment of the leadership of the World Bank and its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, should be merit-based, open and transparent,” the three said in a statement.

It was a rare example of unity among countries often at loggerheads as they strive for dominance on the continent.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs said he was withdrawing his nomination in support of Kim. “Professor Sachs supports Dr. Kim 100 percent and with complete enthusiasm,” spokeswoman Erin Trowbridge said.

The deadline for nominations was 6 p.m. Washington time on March 23, a few hours after when the Daily News went to print.