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Russia seeking alternative to US-backed candidate for World Bank head

Since its establishment in 1944, the World Bank has always been headed by Americans.

The Russian directorate at the World Bank is holding consultations with colleagues from friendly countries on nominating their own candidate to the post of head of the organization, Roman Marshavin, Executive Director at the Board of the World Bank Group representing Russia, told Russian news agency TASS.

According to the official, the group is discussing the nomination of a candidate who would be an alternative to Ajay Banga, nominated earlier by the United States. Marshavin did not mention any specific potential candidates but said that there are already more than 15 names on the “long list” and the candidate pool continues to grow. He clarified that among the possible candidates are both authoritative Russian financiers and world-famous foreign economists, including former heads of international organizations and several ex-ministers of finance and heads of central banks of countries friendly to Russia.

“Consultations with our partners will continue over the weekend and, most likely, next week we will send specific proposals to Moscow,” the Russian executive director said.

Marshavin recalled that since current World Bank President David Malpas announced his early retirement, the Russian directorate at the World Bank has literally been overwhelmed with a stream of requests from both the organization’s employees and NGOs from various countries, including the United States. All have expressed dissatisfaction with the monopoly that Washington has held over the appointment of the head of the World Bank since the very creation of this critical global institution, which they believe has seriously discredited the bank in the court of public opinion, Marshavin explained.

Malpas was appointed as World Bank head by the previous US administration led by Republican Donald Trump. In recent months, the outgoing head of the World Bank has come under constant pressure from the Democratic Party, which is currently in power, for his “insufficiently progressive views on and [lack] of commitment to slowing climate change.”

Despite the active promotion of the new American candidate in the global media, specialists were struck by his lack of experience in implementing projects for combating poverty, which is the main task of the World Bank.

Russia has previously had experience in nominating a candidate for elections in another Bretton Woods institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which occurred in 2007.

According to Marshavin, many of Russia’s allies on the World Bank’s Board of Directors, which represent “about half of the 25 members,” would welcome the emergence of an alternative candidate to Banga. This would lead to “truly competitive elections in which the voice of the borrowing countries, for the sake of which this institution was created, is heard.”

On February 15, current World Bank President David Malpas announced his decision to resign by June 30. On February 23, US President Joe Biden nominated former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga for the presidency of the World Bank.

About the bank

Since its establishment in 1944, the World Bank has always been headed by Americans.

Headquartered in Washington, the bank provides long-term loans to public and private enterprises around the world with guarantees from their governments at low interest rates, as well as interest-free loans and grants. Funds are directed to projects in areas such as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, environmental protection and natural resource management.

Over the 30-year history of Russia’s membership in the World Bank, Russian companies have won tenders through the bank in different countries worth over $5 billion.

Courtesy: TASS

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Coverpage’s editorial stance

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