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BBC World Service

World Bank names Jim Yong Kim as new head

Andrew Walker Apr 17, 2012

Bob Moon: The World Bank is getting a new president. Jim Yong Kim, who’s currently the head of Dartmouth College, will be taking over the Washington-based global lending institution beginning this summer. He got the nod despite some vocal pushback from developing countries, who wanted a non-American to get the job. The World Bank is charged with promoting growth in developing nations.

On the line with us is BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker, who spoke to the incoming World Bank chief. Good morning.

Andrew Walker: Good morning Bob.

Moon: Andrew, this is clearly a much different kind of leader than the World Bank is used to seeing. A Korean born, American educated doctor with public health expertise. What does he bring to the table?

Walker: It is very striking, isn’t it? Previous World Bank presidents have always been American but they have either been politicians or they have been financiers. He is neither of those, what he does have is expertise as a development professional, which is new. What he doesn’t have that has made some people a little critical is wider experience of economic development issues which is the main stream of the bank’s activities but having said that, health is an important business at the bank as well.

Moon: How does Dr. Kim counter critics who accuse him of being anti-growth?

Walker: He says that this goes back to a book that he jointly edited ten years ago which was called Dying for Growth which was critical, it must be said, of what he saw as sometimes being an unrestrained pursuit of economic growth without adequate consideration for the impacts that the growth has on poor people. He says, however, all he’s saying at the time was, growth is not enough. He says he is in favor of economic growth and in particular, of capitalist, market-led economic growth.

Moon: The BBC’s Andrew Walker. Thanks for joining us.

Walker: My pleasure, Bob.

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