Nominees for World Bank presidency

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 24, 2012 05:06 hrs

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American and president of Dartmouth College, to become head of the World Bank when Robert Zoellick steps down in June.

Kim's name had not surfaced previously in media reports on potential U.S.-backed candidates to lead the organization.

He will be considered by the World Bank board of member nations alongside Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo, who were also nominated on Friday.

Emerging market countries, which have grown restless at seeing the job go routinely to an American, are contesting the position for the first time. The post has been held by an American since the bank's founding after World War Two.

Following are some facts about Kim, Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo. Their nominations will be reviewed by the World Bank's board, which has said it will announce a decision by late April.


Kim was born in South Korea but moved with his family to the United States at age 5. His father, a dentist, taught at the University of Iowa, and Kim grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, where he played quarterback for his high school football team and was also school president and valedictorian.

He earned a medical degree and an anthropology doctorate from Harvard, where he founded the development non-profit agency Partners in Health with medical school classmate Paul Farmer. The work of PIH in Haiti received widespread attention through the book "Mountains Beyond Mountains." While working with PIH in Peru, Kim developed a treatment for a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.

Kim, 52, was director of the department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization and, while there, led a successful initiative to threat 3 million AIDS patients by 2005. He was elected in 2004 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.


Okonjo-Iweala is currently finance minister for the African oil-producing nation of Nigeria, an appointment she accepted in mid-2011 after serving as a managing director at the World Bank from late 2007.

The 57-year-old Okonjo-Iweala is regarded as a highly credible candidate, accomplished in politics and development. She would be the first woman to lead the bank.

Educated at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Okonjo-Iweala has an extensive background in non-profit work and as a scholar. She worked as a senior fellow and expert on development issues at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.


Ocampo is a professor at Columbia University in New York who previously served as Colombia's finance minister and also has held senior positions at the United Nations.

The 59-year-old Ocampo would likely win broad support from Latin American nations that have expressed unhappiness at a tradition that has reserved leadership of the International Monetary Fund for a European and the World Bank for an American candidates. Brazil said this week that Ocampo or Nigeria's Okonjo-Iweala would be "great" candidates.

Ocampo is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Yale and has published extensively on macroeconomic policy as well as economic and social development issues and trade.

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