Ajay Banga takes over as President of The World Bank, Biden calls him ‘transformative’ leader

jay Banga. PHOTO: Twitter @WorldBank

On May 3, 2023, the White House welcomed the collective decision of 25 Executive Directors of The World Bank to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee, Ajay Banga, as the 14th President of global financial institution. With this confirmation, Banga made history as the first-ever person of Indian origin and first Indian American to occupy that position.

“I want to congratulate Ajay Banga — my nominee for the next President of the World Bank — on his resounding approval by the Bank’s Board of Governors,” adding “Ajay Banga will be a transformative leader, bringing expertise, experience, and innovation to the position of World Bank President.”

Banga, who was the only nominee for the position, will begin his five-year term on June 2, 2023. By tradition, the United States nominates US citizens for the World Bank President, and the European Union nominates its citizens for Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who are then confirmed by a 24-member IMF Executive Board.

Banga will take over in his new position in the midst of crucial global challenges, such as global inflation, food and energy shortages stemming from the COVID pandemic, impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, and climate crises. He will be focused on implementation of the World Bank’s mission to address poverty and economic growth issues while building resilience to challenges on the global front. Banga’s delivery on climate crises will be critical especially since his predecessor David Malpass was heavily criticized for his shortcomings on effectively delivering on the World Bank’s ambitious climate agenda.

Prior to his confirmation, Banga visited eight countries spanning four continents and met government officials from over two-dozen countries as part of a listening tour. Speaking at the Center for Global Development, on April 5, he asserted, “It [World Bank] must pursue both climate adaptation and mitigation, it must reach out to lower-income countries without turning its back on middle-income countries, it must think globally but recognize national and regional needs. The task is great.”

Vice President Kamala Harris said, “Congratulations to Ajay Banga on his election as President of the World Bank. Ajay has been an incredible partner in our work in Central America, helping to deliver hope and opportunity on the ground. I look forward to our continued work together.”

“Ajay will play a key role steering the World Bank to address global challenges we face, like climate change and pandemics and fragility and conflict, while ushering in the fundamental changes in development finance that this moment requires. President Biden and our administration are looking forward to working with Ajay in this new role,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during the press briefing on March 3.

A strong supporter of Banga’s nomination, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, “I warmly congratulate Ajay Banga on his election to lead the World Bank. Ajay Banga will bring to this important role the right leadership and management skills, experience living and working in emerging markets, and financial expertise to lead the World Bank at a critical moment in its history,” noting Banga is attuned to tackle the ongoing challenges.

Congratulating Banga on being confirmed as President of The World Bank, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “I am confident that you’ll bring your wide experience in the corporate world for meeting the goals of the Bank.”

Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, while congratulating Banga said, “His leadership, experience and expertise will be so important as the World Bank evolves and expands to address many complex and interconnected global challenges.”

“Under his leadership, MasterCard launched the Center for Inclusive Growth, which advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world,” the World Bank noted in a press release.

“This is another proud chapter in the success stories of the Indian American diaspora, and I congratulate Ajay as he gets set to take a critical leadership role once again,” said President & CEO of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Mukesh Aghi. “As I earlier congratulated Ajay on his nomination, it is my unequivocal belief that Ajay’s deep expertise in key leadership positions at Fortune 250 companies, best positions him to take charge of the multilateral institution. His past leadership stints evince that he will be a transformative leader and provide out-of-the-box solutions.”

The President of the World Bank Group is also the Chair of the Board of the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The President is also ex officio chair of the Board of Directors of the International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and of the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Banga, who most recently served as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic, previously held the position of President & CEO of Mastercard. Among other awards, Banga received the prestigious Padma Shri Award from the President of India in 2016.



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