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Jim Yong Kim is chosen to lead World Bank


Jim Yong Kim (Xinhua-Yonhap News)
Jim Yong Kim (Xinhua-Yonhap News)



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jim Yong Kim, an American who is president of Dartmouth College, has been chosen to be the next president of the World Bank. His selection Monday extends the U.S. hold on the top job at the 187-nation development agency.

Kim, a surprise nominee of President Barack Obama, was selected Monday in a vote by the World Bank's 25-member executive board. He'll succeed Robert Zoellick, who's stepping down after a five year term.

Developing nations waged an unsuccessful challenge to Kim, 52, a physician and pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world.

Kim issued a statement accepting the job from Lima, Peru, his last stop on a global tour that took him to Africa, Asia and Latin American, seeking support from developing countries.

He praised his two opponents from developing countries and said his goal as president would be to ``seek a new alignment of the World Bank with a rapidly changing world.''

Kim's selection marks a break from previous World Bank leaders who were typically political, legal or economic figures. The World Bank raises money from its member nations and borrows from investors to provide low-cost loans to developing countries.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised the selection, saying Kim ``has a lifetime of experience solving complex problems.'' He said Kim ``will help breathe new life into the World Bank's efforts'' to promote economic growth around the world.

Developing countries had put forward two candidates for the post _ Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.

Both had argued that it was time to break the hold the United States has had on the World Bank job and provide a greater voice for developing nations.

Ocampo announced on Friday that he was withdrawing and throwing his support to Okonjo-Iweala. The World Bank did not provide information on the final vote other than to say ``the final nominees received support from different member countries'' indicating that Kim's selection was not unanimous.

Oxfam, the global anti-poverty group, said that while Kim was an outstanding candidate, the process had been tainted by the fact that once again a U.S. candidate had won in a non-transparent process. For nearly seven decades, the World Bank has always been headed by an American while the International Monetary Fund has always been headed by a European.

``Dr. Kim is an excellent choice for World Bank president and a true development hero. But we'll never know if he was the best candidate for the job because there was no true and fair competition,'' said Oxfam official Elizabeth Stuart. ``This sham process has damaged the institution and sullied Dr. Kim's appointment.''

Kim will begin a five-year term in July. Born in South Korea, Kim is an American who moved to the United States with his family at age 5. His selection extends the tradition of Americans leading the World Bank dating to the institution's founding in 1944.

Kim and the other candidates were interviewed by the World Bank's board last week. In his statement to the board, Kim said he had worked throughout his career for ``reform and change'' and would continue those efforts at the World Bank.

Obama's announcement March 23 that Kim would be the U.S. nominee for the World Bank post came as a surprise. His name had not been mentioned as a possible candidate. Since 2009, Kim has been president of Dartmouth College.

Those more often mentioned included Larry Summers, who had led the White House economic council earlier in the Obama administration, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But Kim's nomination had won widespread praise because of his extensive experience in working to improve health in the poorest countries. In the 1990s, Kim defied skeptics to find a cost-effective way to fight tuberculosis in the slums of South America. He also began a program that has treated millions of Africans for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Eswar Prasad, an economist at Cornell University and a former top official at the International Monetary Fund, said Kim's medical background gave him vital experience in solving problems facing developing nations.

``He will need to dispel any notion that he is there to serve the interests of the U.S. rather than the interests of developing countries,'' Prasad said.

The World Bank focuses on fighting poverty and promoting development. In recent decades, it's focused on poor nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is a leading source of development loans for financing to build dams, road and other projects.

<한글 기사>

김용, 세계은행 이사회서 총재로 선임

김용(52) 다트머스대 총장이 16일(현지시간) 세계은행(WB) 차기 총재로 선임됐다.

세계은행은 이날 성명을 내고 김 총장이 이날 열린 세계은행 이사회에서 경쟁자 였던 응고지 오콘조-이웨알라 나이지리아 재무장관을 누르고 차기 총재로 선택받았다고 발표했다.

이사회 투표권을 장악하고 있는 미국이 김 총장을 후보로 지명하면서 김 총장이 총재로 선임될 가능성은 매우 높았다.

하지만 이웨알라 장관이 세계은행은 이제 개발도상국 인물이 총재를 맡아 변신을 시도해야 한다고 주장하고 중남미와 아프리카 지역 국가들에서 그를 지지하는 목 소리가 나와 공개경쟁 양상을 보이기도 했다.

세계은행은 성명에서 "최종 후보에 오른 인사들이 그들의 자질을 반영, 각기 다 른 나라들로부터 지지를 받았다"면서 "이는 새 총재의 역할과 세계은행이 앞으로 나 아갈 방향에 대한 논의를 활성화시키는 역할을 했다"고 평가했다.

이전 세계은행 총재 11명이 모두 금융이나 외교분야 전문가로 백인 주류층이었던 것과는 달리 김 총장은 한국계인데다 금융 쪽 경험은 거의 없는 인물이어서 지명 될 때 많은 사람이 의외로 받아들였다.

김 총장은 로버트 졸릭 현 총재의 뒤를 이어 오는 7월1일부터 5년간 새 총재 업무를 맡게된다.   

김 총장은 중남미 등의 빈민지역에서 결핵이나 에이즈 퇴치를 위한 의료구호활동을 벌여 국제적으로 명성을 쌓아왔다.

20여년 간 하버드대에서 교수로 재직하며 결핵 퇴치와 국제 의료활동에 앞장섰 고 세계보건기구(WHO) 에이즈국장, 하버드 의대 국제보건•사회의학과장을 역임했다.

2009년에는 다트머스대 제17대 총장으로 선출돼 '아이비 리그'의 첫 한국계  총 장이 됐다.

그는 서울서 태어나 5세 때 부모를 따라 아이오와주에 이민했고, 브라운대학을 나와 하버드대에서 의학박사와 인류학 박사 학위를 받았다.

세계은행은 직원 9천명의 거대 국제기구로, 작년 기준으로 2천580억 달러를 각국에 지원해주고 있다.

 

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