Ajay Banga becomes World Bank president

Ajay Banga, the former CEO of Mastercard, has been confirmed as the 14th president of the World Bank, succeeding David Malpass, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump. Banga, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in February, will begin his five-year term next month. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga would play a “critical role” in addressing global challenges like climate change and promoting shared prosperity.

Biden extended his congratulations to Banga for his “resounding approval” by the World Bank’s board of governors, saying he would be a “transformative leader.” Banga, who was raised in India, will join the World Bank from the private equity firm General Atlantic, where he serves as vice chairman. He has worked for more than a decade at Mastercard, as well as Citigroup and Nestle in India. He has also served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc.

The leader of the World Bank has been an American citizen since its founding after World War II, and the US candidate is traditionally chosen to head the bank. Banga’s selection to replace Malpass comes after the latter was criticised for not acknowledging that burning fossil fuels causes global warming. Malpass, who clarified his stance on the issue, said the emissions were coming from manmade sources, including fossil fuels, and the World Bank was working hard to change that.

Banga’s vision for the bank is to help steer the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly affect its core mission of poverty reduction, including climate change. He is expected to be integral in bringing together the public and private sectors, alongside philanthropies, to usher in the fundamental changes in development finance that this moment requires.

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