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US President Joe Biden Nominates Former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga To Head World Bank

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Ajay Banga, a former CEO of Mastercard Inc, has been nominated by US President Joe Biden to head the World Bank. Biden is betting that Banga’s connections to the private sector and emerging markets will help the 77-year-old organization’s overhaul to better address climate change.

Banga, 63, was nominated by Biden on Thursday, almost guaranteeing that he will take on the role of overseeing billions of dollars in funding as the race is on to assist developing nations combat climate change.

Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a former US Treasury official, said, “I think the speed of the nomination, less than 48 hours after the WB board launched the process, reflects a desire to discourage any challengers and wrap it up quickly.”

To finance responses to climate change and migration, Biden cited Banga’s decades of experience creating multinational corporations and public-private partnerships, and claimed that he had a demonstrated track record of collaborating with world leaders.

In a statement, Biden praised the business executive’s Indian ancestry, familiarity with the problems faced by developing countries, and capacity to mobilize private capital to address significant issues, claiming that “Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history.”

According to Luis Alberto Moreno, who worked closely with Banga while serving as president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Banga’s work in India and other emerging markets, his “obsession” with boosting financial inclusion, and his in-depth familiarity with new technologies could help close the gap between developed nations and emerging markets.

Moreno remarked that Banga had the support of the financial markets, adding that he could be a powerful agent for change.

According to Krishnamurthy Subramanian, a former senior economic adviser to the Indian government who is currently India’s executive director at the International Monetary Fund, India was anticipated to back Banga’s candidature. “It’s an elegant solution.”

However, developing nations and emerging markets have pressed to expand those options. The bank has traditionally been led by someone from the United States, its largest shareholder, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is headed by a European.

The bank will take nominations from other member nations through March 29. Banga’s nomination is the first to be made public. Germany, another significant stakeholder, stated this week that since a woman has never led the bank, the position should go to her.

When asked about Washington’s decision to not nominate a woman, the official stated that Banga would bring that viewpoint to the bank and had “a personal conviction and excellent track record promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the work that he does.”

Banga serves as vice chair of General Atlantic, a U.S. private equity company that, according to administration officials, has spent more than $800 million in solar energy, sustainable agriculture, and EV charging stations.

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