So it was either going to be Hilary Clinton or the neoliberal Lawrence Summers, or “Millennium Village-man” Jeffrey Sachs or some US citizen with strong political connections, as it has been in the past…
Now heard comes the biggest bomb dropped by Barack Obama. He’s nominating a certain Dr. Jim Yong Kim as the next World Bank President. Who is he? Unlike any of the predecessors of the Bank and the current President, Kim is not a financial-trained person nor an economist (nor politician like McNamara or Wolfowitz). He’s a <a href=”http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Epresident/bio/”>physician and an anthropologist by academic background. Ok, also former head of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO) (not head of the WHO). WHO is of course an International Organisation (IO) related to development.
It’s definitely a bombshell. Ok, based on the Guardian report, Kim is a US citizen (no political suicide for Obama as Nancy Birdsall pointed out here). South Korean background–nice touch taking a citizen of an OECD and East Asian country. But that’s it. As pointed out, he has no financial background (well Wolfowitz was more a politician) which the Bank has needed and needs. I haven’t done all research, but I would wager Kim’s name is not well known in the development or global economic community. Ok, HIV/AIDS is important, fine…
But who is this guy? Will he be the right President?
Professor Catherine “Kate” Weaver runs the question deeper here.
In opposition, another CGD staff member, Vijaya Ramachandran, argues that Kim could be a good choice.
Another CGD guy, Charles Kenny, weighs in on the issue with a yes and no tone.
From Kate Weaver’s article, Kevin P. Gallagher shows his support for José Antonio Ocampo.
 Slight correction see list of past Bank Presidents John McCloy was a lawyer and much of a politician, Barber Conable was fully a legislator but also a lawyer before hand. If Kim is selected, he will be the first President not only without a financial or economics background, but without legal or political experience.