Today, the nominee of U.S. President Donald Trump to be the next president of the World Bank, David Malpass, won the unanimous approval of the executive board of the institution. His appointment continues the 73-year tradition of an American running the largest development lender in the world.
Malpass is the undersecretary for international affairs of the U.S. Treasury. The bank said that he will is scheduled to start with his new role on Tuesday as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings get underway.
He is a former chief economist of Bear Stearns and Co who served as the 2016 election campaign of Trump. He was the sole candidate for the position. Jim Yong Kim, the previous World Bank President, stepped down from his position last January to join a private infrastructure fund. He faced two challengers, from Colombia and Nigeria in 2012 when he was first selected.
This time around, the members of the bank board had said that there was little appetite for a challenge to a candidate from the United States from developed economies including Japan and Europe, and from larger emerging markets such as Brazil and China.
During a phone interview with Reuters, Malpass said that he would uphold the commitment of the bank to reducing poverty in the poorest nations and to fight climate change, and pursue the goals that are stated in a $13 billion capital increase in 2018.
In an email to the employees of the World Bank, Malpass stressed the need to fight against extreme poverty and “foster broad based growth for each and every borrower, and a stronger, more stable global economy for all.”
Since taking his position at the US Treasury in 2017, Malpass had been critical of the continued lending of the World Bank to China. He argued that the second-largest economy in the world was already too wealthy for such aid while it was loading up some nations with unsustainable debt from its Belt and Road infrastructure programme.
His comments and his role in the trade negotiations between China and the United States caused some concern in the development community that he might try to use the influence of the bank to put pressure on China.
However, Malpass said that he foresees an “evolution” of the relationship of the bank with China “towards one which recognises China as the world’s second-biggest economy and an important factor in global development. I expect there to be a strong relationship collaboration with China. We have a shared mission of poverty alleviation and reduction.”