Jan 08, 2019 11:52 Asia/Tehran
  • World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, resigns
    World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, resigns

The World Bank’s president, whose tenure has been controversial, has abruptly resigned from his post.

Iran Press/ America: Jim Yong Kim, who has served as president of the World Bank Group since 2012, has abruptly resigned, and will leave office on February 1, the World Bank announced in a statement.

He will leave by 1 February, three and a half years before the expiry of his term in 2022, The Guardian newspaper reported.

The Washington-based organisation is one of the largest donors to developing countries, however many of its policies have proved controversial and debatable.

Kim's decision to quit for the private sector was described by sources close to the bank as a sudden and “personal decision” that surprised its shareholders – the 189 nations that support its work.

Kim said: "It has been a great honour to serve as president of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime."

He continued: "The World Bank Group is more important now than ever as the aspirations of the poor rise all over the world and problems like climate change, pandemics, famine and refugees continue to grow in both their scale and complexity".

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However, in a letter to staff that is likely to be seen as veiled criticism of the organisation, the 59-year-old said: “The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I’ve concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets.”

Only last month Kim said the organisation would make about $200 billion available to fund action on climate change from 2021-25, helping countries adapt to the effects of warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

US presidents have traditionally appointed the head of the World Bank, while European governments normally decide the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Barack Obama chose Kim in 2012 to fill the shoes of Robert Zoellick, a former US government official.

Kim’s abrupt resignation leaves Donald Trump with the opportunity to appoint a successor. He could turn to Bulgarian national Kristalina Georgieva, the bank’s chief executive, who will take over as interim president when Kim leaves. The much-respected official was a European commissioner and EU finance chief before moving to Washington.

However, Trump is expected to use his effective power of veto to make sure a close adviser or a sympathetic political figure takes over.

Critics have also accused the bank of following a business-friendly agenda that allowed western companies to take advantage of developing countries, and make huge profits.

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