Washington DC: US President Donald Trump has said that the World Bank Group should be led by US Treasury official David Malpass.
Trump’s nomination of Malpass, the Treasury Department’s top diplomat, is subject to a vote by the World Bank’s executive board and could draw challengers from some of its 188 other shareholding countries.
The United States is the largest shareholder with 16 per cent of its voting power and has traditionally chosen the bank’s president, but Jim Yong Kim, who stepped down from the job on February 1, faced challengers from Colombia and Nigeria in 2012.
The nomination of Malpass, a Trump loyalist and critic of multilateral institutions who has vowed to pursue “pro-growth” reforms at the development lender, signals that Trump administration wants a firmer grip on the World Bank. He was an economic adviser to Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
Malpass, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, a job in which he oversees the US role in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, has criticized them for growing ever larger, more ‘intrusive’ and ‘entrenched.’
He also has pushed the bank to cut back lending to China, which he argues is too wealthy for such aid when it is saddling poorer countries with debt in its Belt and Road infrastructure drive.
Last year, as part of a $13 billion World Bank capital increase, Malpass helped negotiate reforms aimed at refocusing resources toward the poorest countries and winding down lending to China.
“He has fought to ensure financing is focused on the places and projects that truly need assistance, including people living in extreme poverty,” Trump said in announcing his choice at the White House with Malpass by his side.
Malpass said at the White House he would work to implement these reforms and also focus on women’s economic empowerment.
“I’m very optimistic that we can achieve breakthroughs to create growth abroad that will help us combat extreme poverty and create economic opportunities in the developing world,” Malpass said.