Economy

Trump expected to name David Malpass to head World Bank

Trump expected to name David Malpass to head World Bank

Malpass, now the undersecretary for worldwide affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department and a former chief economist at Bear Stearns investment bank, has faithfully echoed President Donald Trump's denunciations of multilateralism run amok, taking aim at institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the global Criminal Court.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders declined to confirm that Malpass is the president's pick to lead the world's largest development lender.

Growing emerging market countries have challenged this unwritten arrangement in recent years, demanding a more open, merit-based selection process, and a greater voice in the institutions themselves.

Experts on the process had thought it unlikely those countries would join forces against the U.S. candidate, but agreed they might react more strongly to Malpass, a strident critic of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund who has called their lending "corrupt".

Senior Treasury official David Malpass.

The official nomination season opens Thursday but the USA government began notifying other World Bank shareholders of its plans to appoint Malpass on Monday, Reuters reports.

Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development, said the choice showed that the Trump administration was trying to undermine a key global institution and urged other countries to nominate alternative candidates.

Before joining the administration, Malpass was an economic adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign.

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Malpass, the undersecretary for global affairs at the Treasury Department, has been a sharp critic of the World Bank, especially over its lending to China.

Malpass would succeed Jim Yong Kim, who announced in January that he was stepping down three years before his term was to expire.

While the announcement is expected Wednesday, the sources cautioned the decision would not be final until the President announced it.

Nominations for the next president shall be submitted between February 7 and March 14, according to the World Bank. Any of the 189 members can propose a candidate.

The World Bank has been led by an American ever since it was founded in the aftermath of World War II.

If he is ultimately chosen by the World Bank's executive board, his departure would mean yet another vacancy at an already thinly staffed Treasury Department.

"We're talking about a country that should not be borrowing from [the World Bank], and it's the biggest borrower", Steil said. He has also criticized the bank's lending criteria, while taking potshots at what he sees as a bloated staff with inflated salaries. "Huge organizations like the World Bank and the many multi-lateral development banks have created an environment where their own growth ends up being as important as their clients' growth".

Potential candidates reportedly under consideration by Trump include former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - who was nominated by African countries to compete against Kim in 2012 - former PIMCO chief Mohamed El-Erian, an Egyptian-American, and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, an Indian-American.


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