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David Malpass sails past doubts to secure World Bank presidency (Financial Times)

April 4, 2019

From the article:

David Malpass is poised to secure approval from the World Bank’s board as the next president of the Washington-based multilateral lender on Friday, after a low-profile campaign with no competition.

The comfortable run experienced by the 63-year-old former chief economist of Bear Stearns on the path to the World Bank presidency marks a victory for the Trump administration, which will now have an avenue to bring its America-first worldview to one of the top international economic institutions.

Mr. Malpass has prevailed despite concerns among officials in many countries about his well-documented skepticism of multilateralism, and doubts about his commitment to some of the World Bank’s main goals, particularly combating climate change. 


Mr. Malpass has laid out a narrower vision for the World Bank, saying it should be more exclusively focused on providing assistance to the poorest countries. He consistently warned that multilateralism had gone “too far” and international economic co-operation had become sprawling and ineffective.

“The timing is tough, because it’s a moment when the World Bank needs to do more, and have a leader with a big vision, bringing it into the 21st century,” said Nancy Birdsall, president emeritus of the Center for Global Development.

Mr. Malpass is expected to take office as early as next week, in time for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, giving him the opportunity to make a high-profile debut.

His early actions will be closely scrutinised for any signs of tensions with China. In congressional testimony as recently as November, Mr. Malpass had warned that the multilateral development banks risked being captured by Beijing’s “geopolitical” influence.


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Photo of Nancy Birdsall
Senior Fellow, President Emeritus