Surprising Resignation from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

On Monday, January 7, the President of the World Bank announced his resignation after six years at the head of the institution.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced his resignation on Monday, Jan. 7, a surprise that will give the Trump administration, hostile to multilateralism, the opportunity to designate the new leadership of the flagship institution of economic development.

In a statement, Jim Yong Kim, who chaired the World Bank (WB) for six years, says only that he will join " a society »Investment and focus« on infrastructure investments in developing countries ".

An American is usually appointed at the head of the World Bank, while the management of the IMF is generally assigned to a European. This division of roles, strongly contested by emerging countries, opens the way for the appointment of a new leader by the Trump administration, which is very critical of World Bank loans to certain countries like China. .

Named in 2012 by Barack Obama

Jim Yong Kim, 59, whose resignation will be effective February 1, will be replaced in the interim by Kristalina Georgieva, Executive Director of the World Bank. He was promoted by Democratic President Barack Obama to the head of the World Bank in 2012, then renewed in 2016, and his term was to last until 2021.

Iconoclast doctor takes the helm of the World Bank

" It has been a great honor to serve as President of a remarkable institution, with a passionate staff dedicated to its mission of eradicating extreme poverty in our lifetime. "He said in a statement, which does not give the reason for his departure. " The work of the World Bank is more important than ever as the aspirations of the world's poor progress, and issues such as climate change, epidemics, famines and refugees continue to grow in scale and complexity. Jim Yong Kim wrote again.

The US Treasury reacted by claiming to have " appreciated Jim Yong Kim's service and pointing out that the Bank will continue to operate under the able direction of Kristalina Georgieva ". Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin, " look forward to working with other governors to appoint a new leader Said a spokeswoman to AFP.

A contested internal balance sheet

Under the leadership of Jim Yong Kim, a trained medical doctor, the development institution, which has 189 member countries, successfully completed a capital increase and made greater use of the private sector to finance projects in developing countries. .

World Bank doubles action on climate

But internally, his record had been highly contested, even before his renewal at the head of the international institution. He had to face an unprecedented internal discontent fueled by a controversial reorganization and controversy over the bonus payments to top executives in 2014. His $ 400 million savings plan, accompanied by layoffs, had destabilized at the time the some 15,000 employees of this institution, which has always been chaired by an American since its creation in 1945.

Prior to his reappointment to the presidency, the association of WB staff had denounced a leadership crisis ". Several former executives deplored in an open letter the absence of a clear strategy And called for a more transparent and open selection process. A call for applications was issued before the end of his first term, but was locked by the United States, the first shareholders of the World Bank, who were quick to support a second term of the outgoing president, discouraging any dissenting candidacy.

A doctor dedicated to the humanitarian

This son of a North Korean escaped to the South was born in 1959 in Seoul, at the time a very poor city. He arrived in the United States at the age of five, in Iowa, where he followed the footsteps of his father while studying medicine. He received two doctorates, in medicine and anthropology.

His career, largely devoted to research (on tuberculosis and AIDS), led him to the humanitarian field. He is the co-founder of Partners in Health, an association that provides treatment and prevention to poor people in poor countries.

He went on to the World Health Organization, and in 2009 became President of the University of Dartmouth, New Hampshire. Among his new duties, Jim Yong Kim said Monday he will rejoin the Board of Directors of Partners in Health.