CGD in the News

David Malpass unchallenged to be next World Bank president (Devex)

March 15, 2019

From the article:

LONDON — The legitimacy of the World Bank’s presidential appointment process is under renewed scrutiny after U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick, David Malpass, emerged as the only candidate to succeed Jim Kim.

Nominations for the position closed on Thursday, and the World Bank confirmed in a press release that Malpass, currently a U.S. Department of Treasury official and a former investment banker, was the only candidate nominated for the job.

Civil society groups and development experts reacted with dismay. Many had hoped the historic “gentleman’s agreement,” which sees the United States appoint the World Bank chief and Europe nominate the head of the International Monetary Fund, would face a genuine challenge this time around. With only one candidate, it is hard for the bank’s directors to argue credibly that the process was merit-based and transparent, they say.

“It is very depressing that the World Bank board has failed to live up to the repeated commitments of its members to an open, merit-based process for key international appointments,” said Owen Barder, vice president at the Center for Global Development.

“Going back to choosing the World Bank president by coronation rather than a fair contest is a setback for an effective, rules-based multilateral system. This is another nail in the coffin for the World Bank,” he said.

As Malpass made his rounds to meet with World Bank shareholders, he secured commitments of support from countries including Australia and South Korea before the nomination deadline closed, begging questions about whether they were ever open to challenging the Trump administration’s pick by considering alternative candidates.