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Obama taps Jim Yong Kim for World Bank
Question of the Day
Developing nations are expected to nominate Jose Antonio Ocampo, a Columbia University professor who had been finance minister for Colombia, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, who has the backing of the three African countries on the World Bank board.
Economist Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, openly campaigned for the World Bank post, saying the position should be filled by an expert in development issues. But Sachs dropped his bid Friday after Obama announced his nominee, writing on Twitter: “Jim Kim is a superb nominee for WB. I support him 100%.”
Obama administration officials said the pick was already being well-received in the developing world. After learning of Kim’s nomination, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the physician was “a true friend of Africa” and “a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty.”
The World Bank opening put Obama in the awkward position of choosing between his desire to be seen as a supporter of rising economic powers and the pressures of a political year in which support for a non-U.S. candidate could have opened him to criticism.
Obama picked Kim over several more well-known candidates, including Susan Rice, current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; and Lawrence Summers, Obama’s former director of the National Economic Council.
Others mentioned for the World Bank post included Indra Nooyi, the head of soft drink company PepsiCo, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, who served in top economic jobs in the Clinton administration.
Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S. at age 5. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard University. He co-founded the global health organization Partners in Health and served as director of the World Health Organization’s department of HIV/AIDS.
He began his tenure as president of Dartmouth in 2009, becoming the first Asian-American to lead an Ivy League institution.
• AP economics writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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