The World Bank on Monday chose Korea-born American health expert Jim Yong Kim as its new president,maintaining Washingtons grip on the job and leaving developing countries questioning the selection process.
Kim,52,won the job over Nigerias widely respected finance minister,Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,with the support of Washingtons allies in Western Europe,Japan,Canada and some emerging market economies,including Russia,Mexico and South Korea.
Unlike previous World Bank elections,the decision was not unanimous. The final nominees received support from different member countries,which reflected the high caliber of the candidates,the Bank said in announcing its boards decision.
Kim,president of Dartmouth College,will assume his new post on July 1 after the Banks current president,Robert Zoellick,steps down.
The United States has held the presidency since the World Banks founding after World War II,while a European has always led its sister institution,the International Monetary Fund.
Unlike previous heads of the World Bank,Kim is not a politician,a banker or diplomat. He is a trained physician and anthropologist who has worked to bring health care to the poor in developing countries,whether fighting tuberculosis in Haiti and Peru or tackling HIV/AIDS in Russian prisons.
There had been a three-way contest for the presidency of the poverty-fighting institution until Friday when former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo withdrew. He said the process,which was meant to be based solely on credentials,had become highly political.