Ajay Banga, a top Indian-American business executive, has been selected as the new President of the World Bank, becoming the first-ever Indian-American to lead the global financial institution. The announcement was made on Wednesday by the Executive Directors of the World Bank, who chose Banga to replace David Malpass for a five-year term beginning June 2.
US President Joe Biden had nominated Banga for the position in February, citing his expertise, experience, and innovation as qualities that would make him a “transformative leader” at the World Bank. In a statement released on Wednesday, President Biden congratulated Banga and said he was confident that together with the bank’s leadership and shareholders, Banga would help steer the institution as it evolves to address global challenges, including poverty reduction and climate change.
Banga, 63, is a well-respected business leader with extensive experience in the financial sector. He has been the Executive Chairman of Mastercard since January 2021, having previously served as the CEO of the company from 2010 to 2020. Under his leadership, Mastercard underwent a major transformation, expanding its reach and becoming a leader in digital payments.
Before joining Mastercard, Banga held several senior positions at Citigroup, including CEO of its Asia Pacific region. He has also served on several boards, including the US-India Business Council, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
In his new role as President of the World Bank, Banga will be responsible for leading the institution’s efforts to promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. The World Bank provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries to help them address a wide range of challenges, including poverty, inequality, and climate change.
Banga’s appointment has been welcomed by leaders and experts around the world. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Banga and said his appointment was a proud moment for India. “I am sure he will lead the World Bank with great passion and dedication, and contribute to the global development agenda,” Modi said in a tweet.
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, also congratulated Banga and said she looked forward to working closely with him. “I know that he will bring his vision, experience, and leadership to the task of reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity around the world,” Georgieva said in a statement.
Banga’s appointment comes at a critical time for the World Bank, as developing countries continue to grapple with the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has pushed millions of people into poverty, and there is a growing need for international institutions like the World Bank to provide assistance and support to countries in need.
In addition to the pandemic, the World Bank also faces challenges related to climate change, inequality, and conflict. Banga will need to navigate these challenges and work with governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to find sustainable solutions.