Bust up over World Bank as new head is named
Rapping Michael Jackson impersonator offers a break with tradition – but not everyone is happy
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Monday 16 April 2012
Surprise! The man who will become the next president of the World Bank is an American – to the increasing irritation of developing nations, it is always an American – but at least this time it is not a superannuated banker or politician. And at least he can rap.
The appointment of Jim Yong Kim, a South Korea-born, American-raised doctor turned academic was formally announced last night, though in truth the deal was sealed the moment US President Barack Obama nominated him to the post last month. Still, not everyone involved in the process was happy.
Dr Kim is currently president of Dartmouth College, the first Asian-American head of an Ivy League university, and will be the first president to come from the non-profit sector to run the Bank. Dr Kim, 52, established his professional reputation by founding a charity that pioneered intensive community healthcare projects in countries such as Haiti, and has advised the World Health Organisation on HIV and Aids.
His parents left Seoul when he was five and he grew up in in Iowa, where he showed a precocious academic talent. He has two Ivy League universities on his CV and returned to academia three years ago to run Dartmouth – which is where the rapping comes in.
At the annual "Dartmouth Idol" competition, a grinning Dr Kim was surely the first World Bank president to become a YouTube sensation performing the Black Eyed Peas' song "The Time", dressed in a glow-in-the-dark suit with space-age sunglasses and completing an accomplished "robot dance". He then danced to "Thriller". Danny Blanchflower, The Independent columnist and former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, who is a professor at Dartmouth, cites Dr Kim's "infectious enthusiasm" as a quality he will bring to his new role.
At Dartmouth, he helped restore some balance to the university's finances, though he has endured criticism for failing to stamp out the "hazing" culture that can lead to dangerous bullying of new students.
And there is another first for Dr Kim at the World Bank. He is the first president not to be elected unanimously.
Since the US contributes the most money to the World Bank, and since European countries always vote for the US choice as part of a reciprocal deal that gives them dibs on the presidency of the International Monetary Fund, the outcome was not in doubt.
Some new economic powerhouses – including South Africa, Brazil and, reportedly, India and China – voted for an alternative candidate, the first time there has been a serious challenger.
Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former Colombian finance minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo, contested the election, though Mr Ocampo pulled out last week, saying the process had become too political. Ms Okonjo-Iweala claimed she had broken important barriers. "This thing is not really decided on merit... the United States will get it," she said yesterday, adding that she had "shown we can contest this thing and Africa can produce people capable of running the entire architecture", but that emerging market need to seize more control.
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
The new people’s republic of east Ukraine
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Kingdom Tower: Construction of 1km high new world’s tallest building to begin next week in Saudi Arabia
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...