US physician Kim voted World Bank head | News | DW | 16.04.2012
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US physician Kim voted World Bank head

The World Bank has chosen public health expert Jim Yong Kim of the US as its new president. The South Korean-born physician will assume the top post at the international development agency in July.

The World Bank announced on Monday that Kim had been chosen to lead the Washington-based institution.

Kim, 52, will replace Robert Zoellick, who is stepping down after one five-year term. He is currently head of Dartmouth College in the US state of New Hampshire.

His nomination by President Barack Obama came as a surprise. As a physician and pioneer in HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis treatment in the developing world, he was an unorthodox choice. In the past, political, economic and legal figures have led the bank.

The choice of Kim cements the tradition of an American leading the 187-nation development agency. Developing countries had unsuccessfully lobbied to have one of their own named president.

Kim's top competitor for the job was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance minister. A third candidate, Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former Colombian finance minister, had pulled out of the running over the weekend.

It was the first time in the World Bank's history that people from the developing world were candidates for the post.

The decision by the 25-member executive board to appoint Kim was not unanimous, and it is likely to add to the ongoing debate over the currently low numbers of people from the developing world in global bodies.

ncy/ai (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)