Obama to nominate Korean-born Jim Yong Kim for World Bank head

News just started coming in that President Barack Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a surprise choice coming on the day the deadline for nominations expires. Anonymous officials have leaked the information to the press ahead of Obama’s official announcement later today.

Kim is a global health expert who has been a Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has extensive experience in improving health in developing countries and was Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department from 2004 to 2006, when he oversaw all of the WHO’s work related to HIV/AIDS, focusing on initiatives to help developing countries scale up their treatment, prevention, and care programs, including the “3×5” campaign. US health activists seem to be quite excited with the news.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sachs tweeted:

Jim Kim is a superb nominee for WB. I support him 100%. I thank all who supported me and know they’ll be very pleased with today’s news

Is Sachs going to pull out of the race?

With the Eurozone in a mess, Obama has the political space for a “radical” stand

Robert Zoellick, the only neo-con who survived the Bush era because he left in time , has just announced that he will step down from the top job in the World Bank, and not look for a new term in 1818 H street in Washington.

This move, already in the air given the ambition of the democrats not to leave a Republican-appointee in place for a second term at the World Bank, renews again the well known saga about the appointment of next Bank president: again an American politician or banker? Or for the first time ever since Bretton Woods in 1944 will a non-American citizen be allowed to head the institution?

Despite the whole debate and new commitment to a procedure for a transparent and merit-based selection process to find the best candidate for the top job of the IMF, the Europeans gave a bad example in 2011 by forcing through Madame Lagarde at a time of profound crisis in “old Europe”. Hence the need for European governments to be sure that the IMF will intervene in case of a show down of the Eurozone. This is quite understandable for a bunch of countries who are not able even to decide among themselves about how to help each other out of the crisis. Continue reading