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World Bank Chooses U.S.-Backed Kim To Be Its Next President

The World Bank's executive directors have chosen Dr. Jim Yong Kim to be the development agency's next president.

Kim, who most recently has been president of Dartmouth College, is a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization who was nominated to the post last month by President Obama.

By tradition, the bank's directors have followed the USA's lead when it comes to choosing a president — though there was some competition for the post this time. When he selected Kim, Obama said it is "time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency."

Kim's 5-year term is set to begin on July 1. He succeeds Robert Zoellick.

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET. An Unusual Choice:

As NPR's John Ydstie explains, "the top job at the World Bank has usually been reserved for financiers, economists or political heavyweights. There have been questions about whether Dr. Kim has the mindset to 'allocate scarce resources' as a banker or economist might do, or whether he's got the political skill to get things done at a global institution that has 187 member nations. But others have praised his qualifications, saying that Dr. Kim's experience makes him ideally suited for the job and that it is time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency."

As for the push by developing nations to have the job go to someone from thei world, John notes that "in the end the U.S. candidate prevailed because the U.S. has the greatest number of votes at the bank and it also has the support of Europe, which has the second largest bloc of votes."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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