Treasurer Wayne Swan has welcomed the appointment of Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim as next president of the World Bank.
Swan said he was pleased that for the first time, there was more than one person competing for the position. Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo were also in contention for the role
“While the other candidates were strong contenders, Jim Kim will make an excellent addition to the World Bank,” Swan says.
“I had a warm and productive working relationship with [outgoing president] Bob Zoellick and I am sure this will continue with Jim Kim.”
Kim is the current president of US Ivy league university, Dartmouth College, and a doctor who has pioneered treating AIDS and tuberculosis in developing countries.
US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner says Kim “has a lifetime of experience solving complex problems”.
Eswar Prasad, an economist at Cornell University and past official at the International Monetary Fund, said Kim’s medical background gave him experience in solving complex problems facing developing nations.
“He will need to dispel any notion that he is there to serve the interests of the US rather than the interests of developing countries,” Prasad said, according to the Australian Financial Review.
American Bob Zoellick is stepping down after a five-year term. Kim will start the five-year appointment on July 12.
The World Bank‘s goal is the reduction of poverty. It was one of five institutions created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. Based in Washington DC, the World Bank has eight main goals, including the reduction of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.