Treasury Notes

 Dr. Jim Yong Kim Extends Global Listening Tour to Solicit Input and Ideas on Priorities for the World Bank

By: Erika Gudmundson

This week, President Obama’s nominee for the World Bank presidency, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, kicked off a global listening tour to meet with heads of state, finance ministers, and other stakeholders to solicit their priorities for the World Bank over the coming years. As he travels, he’s meeting with many of the World Bank’s shareholder and client countries in order to assess how the Bank can best promote growth, combat poverty, and create jobs in developing nations.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Dr. Kim was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as well as leadership from the African Union.  While there, he also conducted an interview with Capital, a national newspaper. Read some excerpts here or the full article:

“One of the things I have been watching with great interest is the fact that from the time in the early 2000s, when people had very little hope for the continent as a whole to develop economically, the performance of African countries including Ethiopia has been quite impressive,” said Dr. Kim on Thursday in an exclusive interview with Capital at the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa. “So bringing my experience in development, bringing my experience in investing in human beings and also bringing my experience in really trying to understand how people in the countries experience development in the direction they want to go; I hope being elected president of the World Bank would mean very good things for Ethiopia and other African countries.” Dr. Kim says his commitment to Africa long predates his nomination to the top job at the World Bank. “My involvement and commitment to providing resources for African people so that they can go down the path to development long predates my nomination by President Obama.” […]  “It is through my personal experience of Africa that I would go into the job with the Bank, understanding why Africa has to be among my very top priorities if named president of the World Bank,” Dr. Kim said touting his ties with the continent. […]

“My approach to health care and to my work as a physician is not just as a medical problem. I believe providing people in very poor countries with best of what the world has to offer in terms of health care is exactly what is needed to help them along the path of growth. We know that now from many different studies and many different experiences that investing in human beings is the best way to setup a country on the path towards economic growth,” explained Kim. “I come with a firm belief that investing in the health of the people is part of what is required to help that country along the path of development.” […]

“Fundamentally my experience is different I think than previous World Bank presidents, which means that I have a personal sense what it means to be born in a developing country,” Kim said referring to his roots in Korea which he left to the US at the age of five. “I have watched very carefully as Korea went from being an extremely poor country to one that is now highly industrialized… so I bring my personal experience… and deep conviction that every country in the world should be able to go through the process Korea went through.” […]

Now en route to China, Dr. Kim will visit Beijing and, as announced today, Shaoxing where he’ll meet with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. From there, he’ll also visit  Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New Delhi, India; Brussels, Belgium (also added to his tour today); Brasilia, Brazil; and Mexico City, Mexico – all before April 9, 2012.

Earlier this week, we posted initial reactions to his nomination, and since then, as he’s been travelling to solicit ideas and views from around the world about the future of the institution, more reactions have come in:

Ernesto Zedillo, Former President of Mexico

“I am convinced that the World Bank has been one of the most important institutions of the multilateral system, a role that should only be reaffirmed in the years to come. It is essential that the Bank be reinforced to support further the development efforts of the poorest countries in the world. That is why I find sensible and highly commendable the decision of the President of the United States to nominate Dr. Jim Kim as candidate for the presidency of the World Bank. His impressive academic background, his admirable work in the field of public health and his experience as the leader of a distinguished institution of higher learning make him an excellent choice to head the World Bank at a particularly challenging time.”

Richard Levin, Yale University President, PhD

“Jim Kim is passionately devoted to the global development agenda. He has been an innovative leader at Partners in Health and the World Health Organization, and he has thrived in environments where listening attentively to many diverse voices is a required skill. An energetic communicator, he will inspire the World Bank's governors, staff, and clients alike, and motivate all to carry forward the Bank's important work.”

Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania President, PhD

“We need someone with Dr. Kim’s vision and values to improve the world through the World Bank’s considerable impact. He’s an excellent choice on the president’s part.”

Carol McLaughlin, research director at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice, MD, MPH

He is “somebody who has experience in poverty eradication through both diplomatic channels and an understanding of community-level education. He would bring an understanding of … how investments in education, health and the capacity-building of people can be the stimulus for economic growth.”

Erika Gudmundson is New Media Specialist at the Department of the Treasury.

Posted in:  International
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