US President Donald Trump has named senior Treasury Department diplomat David Malpass to lead the World Bank, a role that became vacant after the unexpected early resignation of Jim Yong Kim, the BBC reports.
Malpass is a controversial pick as he has been known to criticise the World Bank’s actions and is expected to reduce its role and push the bank to narrow the focus of its lending to the world’s poorest countries.
At a press conference in Washington, Trump said Malpass had been a “strong advocate for accountability at the World Bank for a long time”. Trump added that he expected Malpass to ensure that the World Bank spends money “effectively and wisely” and “defends American values”.
David Malpass was a senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign in 2016 and continues to be a loyal ally of the US president. He has served as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs since August 2017.
Malpass has criticised the World Bank, along with other institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, for being “intrusive” and “entrenched”. He has also pushed the bank to reduce its lending to China, which he says is too wealthy to deserve such aid.
As the World Bank’s largest shareholder, the US has traditionally been the one to control the selection process for the bank’s president. Americans have led the institution since it was founded in 1940, but some voices have been suggesting that perhaps it was time for that to change.
The World Bank, which has 189 members, is accepting names until 14 March and plans to create a shortlist of up to three candidates for interviews – but it is unclear whether other countries will make alternative nominations.