Donald Trump will likely be able to pick the head of the world’s foremost globalist institution, the World Bank.
Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank since 2012, unexpectedly announced that he will be leaving his post on February 1, more than three years ahead of the end of his second term. He was scheduled to serve through 2021, which would have meant his successor would not have been appointed during the first term of the Trump presidency.
Every past World Bank president has been picked by the United States, including Kim, who was previously the president of Dartmouth College. The U.S. Treasury is the largest shareholder of the bank, with about 16 percent of its voting sharees.
In recent years, however, other countries have sought to wrest control of the bank’s top position from U.S. control. Kim’s nomination had to overcome contenders from Nigeria and Columbia.
The notion of a self-proclaimed economic nationalist like Trump hand-picking the head of the World Bank may galvanize those who seek to undermine U.S. control. Doing so, however, would be a dangerous move as it could weaken U.S. support for the bank.
The U.S. Treasury Department has typically spoken for the U.S. on issues with the World Bank. That put Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the lead role in choosing Kim’s successor. Mnuchin enjoys a close relationship with Trump, although some of Trump’s economic nationalist supporters worry the Treasury Secretary’s outlook is not sufficiently “America First” oriented.
Kristalina Georgieva, the current CEO of the World Bank, will become interim president effective February 1. Georgieva, the former European Commissioner for the Budget and Human Resources, is a native of Bulgaria. Prior to joining the European Commission, she worked in various positions at the World Bank.
Kim’s announcement said he is joining a firm focused on infrastructure investments in the developing world but did not specify the name of the firm. He first became president of the World Bank in 2012 and in 2016 he was appointed to a second term lasting through 2021.