By: Pramod Thomas
The World Bank has confirmed that Ajay Banga, the American pick to lead the organisation, is the sole candidate nominated for the position of president, indicating that he is likely to be appointed in the upcoming months.
The bank will follow standard procedures, including conducting a formal interview with Banga in Washington, DC, before concluding the presidential selection process.
Traditionally, the US has held the presidency of the World Bank, while a European has led the International Monetary Fund, based on an informal agreement.
Banga, 63, was born in India and is a naturalized US citizen.
President Joe Biden announced his nomination last month to succeed David Malpass, who is stepping away early from a presidency clouded by questions over his climate stance.
Ajaypal Singh Banga was born into a Sikh family in the Indian city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra.
Banga grew up in different parts of the country due to his father’s job as an army officer, before getting his start in business at the Indian subsidiary of Nestle in the early 1980s.
He went on to have a successful business career in India, and later relocated to the United States.
Banga ran the payments company Mastercard for more than a decade between 2010 and 2021, and has also served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.
He is currently vice chairman at private equity firm General Atlantic.
In a statement supporting his nomination, Biden said Banga’s business career meant he was “uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank.”
He highlighted Banga’s “critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.”
Since his nomination, Banga has been on a US Treasury-backed “listening tour” of the bank’s 189 member countries to drum up support for his candidacy.
Although no other country had publicly declared a challenger to Banga, it was unclear before Thursday morning if any of the other member states had chosen to privately nominate a candidate for president.
No women were nominated for the post, despite the World Bank “strongly” encouraging applications.
All of the presidents approved by the organization since its inception in the 1940s have been men.