President Obama Names Nominee to Lead World Bank

On Friday, March 23, the White House officially nominated Dr. Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank.  Currently the president of Dartmouth College – the first Asian American to hold that position at any Ivy League university – Dr. Kim is well-known and highly respected among aid experts for his work in global health and development.  Most notably, he was the former director of the World  Health Organization’s Department of HIV/AIDS where he launched the “3 by 5” initiative, largely regarded as one of the most successful modern global health initiatives.

While at Dartmouth, Dr. Kim launched the Dartmouth Center for Healthcare Delivery Science, which brings together an international network of researchers and practitioners to develop new models of high-quality, low-cost healthcare.  In addition, he instituted the National College Health Improvement Project.  He also co-founded a non-profit called Partners in Health, which provides healthcare to the poor.  An anthropologist and physician by training, Dr. Kim emigrated the United States when he was just five years old.  He went on to Brown University, graduating magna cum laude and earned a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University as well.

Now the frontrunner for the position, Dr. Kim had not been among the names recently tossed about in the policy discourse, nor is he among the most well-known either.  The list of heavy hitters included Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Senator John Kerry, former Treasury Secretary and Obama economic advisor Lawrence Summers, PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi, and even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  In addition, development expert and Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs nominated himself for the post.  Developing countries have rallied around two candidates thus far: the Nigerian finance minister and the former Colombian finance minister.

Developing countries, particularly China, continue to press for greater representation in and control over the organization that directly serves them, however it was unlikely that President Obama would have yielded to these demands, especially in an election year.  Although it is wise to encourage the increasing international role of developing nations, the nontraditional support for a non-American could have been a symbol of declining American influence that many Americans are quick to counter.  In this context, the nomination of Dr. Kim is not surprising.  Even though he is an American citizen, his immigrant – specifically Asian – background is significant and perhaps an attempt at appeasement.  Dr. Kim has minimal experience in economics, banking, or policy, so his unconventional background may indeed benefit the organization as it tackles the challenges of 21st-century development.

Posted by: Brian Gowen

Sources: The White House, The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report

Photo Credit:  Los Angeles Times (Andrew Harrer / European Pressphoto Agency)

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Happening Right Now: Doing Business in a More Transparent World

The Program on America and the Global Economy

invites you to a panel discussion:

DOING BUSINESS IN A MORE TRANSPARENT WORLD:

A Discussion of the 2012 World Bank Report

with

Augusto Lopez-Claros

Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank-IFC

Commentators

Peter Bakvis, Director, Washington Office of the International Trade Union Confederation; Johnny Moloto, Deputy Chief of Mission, South African Embassy; Frank Vargo, Vice President of International Economic Affairs, National Association of Manufacturers

Moderated by: John Sewell, Senior Scholar, Wilson Center

Every year since 2002, the World Bank’s Doing Business Project has released a report ranking the world’s economies. This highly influential report is used by policy makers and business leaders to create economic regulations and strategies in countries around the globe. What are the benefits and drawbacks to the World Bank’s approach? How does the report support innovation and entrepreneurship? What type of guidance is given to developing and emerging economies? What are the short- and long-term implications of the report’s recommendations? Join a panel of business, labor, and economic experts on December 6 for a careful and critical examination of this year’s report, Doing Business in a More Transparent World.  The report is available online at www.doingbusiness.org

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 – 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Sixth Floor Board Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Please respond with acceptances only to PAGE@wilsoncenter.org.

Posted by: PAGE Staff

You are Invited – Doing Business in a More Transparent World: A Discussion of the 2012 World Bank Report

The Program on America and the Global Economy

invites you to a panel discussion:

DOING BUSINESS IN A MORE TRANSPARENT WORLD:

A Discussion of the 2012 World Bank Report

with

Augusto Lopez-Claros

Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank-IFC

Commentators

Peter Bakvis, Director, Washington Office of the International Trade Union Confederation; Johnny Moloto, Deputy Chief of Mission, South African Embassy; Frank Vargo, Vice President of International Economic Affairs, National Association of Manufacturers

Moderated by: John Sewell, Senior Scholar, Wilson Center

Every year since 2002, the World Bank’s Doing Business Project has released a report ranking the world’s economies. This highly influential report is used by policy makers and business leaders to create economic regulations and strategies in countries around the globe. What are the benefits and drawbacks to the World Bank’s approach? How does the report support innovation and entrepreneurship? What type of guidance is given to developing and emerging economies? What are the short- and long-term implications of the report’s recommendations? Join a panel of business, labor, and economic experts on December 6 for a careful and critical examination of this year’s report, Doing Business in a More Transparent World.  The report is available online at www.doingbusiness.org

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 – 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Sixth Floor Board Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Please respond with acceptances only to PAGE@wilsoncenter.org.

Posted by: PAGE Staff

Guest Contributor William Krist: Silence on the U.S.-Korean Trade Agreement

Expectations are high that the U.S. and Korea will implement their Free Trade Agreement in the not very distant future.  While trade wonks are aware of this agreement, the general public is uninformed and the mainstream press has largely ignored the issues being debated.  Contrast this with the debate in 1992 over our trade agreement with Mexico when the North American Free Trade Agreement was the centerpiece of Ross Perot’s run for President.

Korea and Mexico are just about the same size economically; in fact the World Bank ranks Korea as the world’s fifteenth largest economy, just slightly smaller than number fourteen Mexico.  No one expects “a giant sucking sound” of lost jobs to result from this agreement, and in fact some studies, such as the one by the U.S. International Trade Commission, project that the U.S. economy will benefit over the long term.

However, some industries, particularly autos and beef, have raised serious concerns that need to be taken into account.  President Obama has given trade negotiators until November to resolve all outstanding issues, so that he can sign the agreement during his trip to Korea for the G-20 meeting.  There is still an opportunity to improve this agreement in a way that will better promote our economic interests and strengthen our relationship with this important ally.

William K Krist is a Senior Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.  He is a former Senior Vice President of the American Electronics Association.  He has written extensively on trade, development, and the environment.  For more information on this topic read his paper ‘Improve then Approve the U.S. – Korean Trade Deal.

Sources: USTR.gov, World Bank, USITC.gov

Photo credit: Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper – Korea Region – US Army Korea – IMCOM – November 20, 2009 courtesy of flickr user US Army Korea- IMCOM