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New World Bank president : Too few people know the problems we tackle

The Dartmouth College president was thought by some to be an unusual choice. He says that far too few people know the breadth of the problems the World Bank tackles.

Dr. Jim Kim, the new head of the World Bank
Dr. Jim Kim, the new head of the World Bank
Image: Jim Cole/AP/Press Association Images

THE NAMING OF Dartmouth College president Dr Jim Yong Kim as the new head of the World Bank was a controversial one, but he aims to get people to understand more about what the institution does.

That is according to TheLancet, which carries an interview with Dr Kim this month, where he speaks about his new role. He officially took up the post on Sunday, 1 July.

Dr Kim is a physician, academic leader, and development expert who, said the Lancet, was seen as an unconventional choice for the role as he is the first person without a financial or political background to lead the World Bank.

Dr Kim was selected as the World Bank’s 12th president on April 16, replacing Robert Zoellick. The World Bank has has 11000 staff members and projects in more than 100 countries.

He told the publication that he is impressed by the “enormous capacity for thinking, researching, and doing” at the World Bank.

However, he add that:

far too few people know the breadth of the problems the bank tackles.

Dr Kim also noted:

the Bank could be more nimble and do things in ways that are more efficient and effective on the ground.

According to The Lancet, some World Bank employees have been critical of Kim’s appointment, with one insider saying that the initial reaction of 80 per cent of the bank “was absolute shock and disbelief”.

It said that some staff are concerned that Kim’s background may mean humanitarian or humane development will take the focus instead of economic growth.

The Bank projects lending of about $35million in the fiscal year 2013. It funds global health, infrastructure, transport systems, and climate adaptation projects in developing countries.

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