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Trump nominates David Malpass as World Bank president 

Washington, February 7

US President Donald Trump has nominated David Malpass, a vocal critic of the World Bank, to head the international financial institution, sparking concerns that he may seek to reduce the role of the global lender.

If approved by the Directors of the World Bank Group, 62-year-old Malpass—currently the under secretary for international affairs at the US Treasury Department—would replace Jim Yong Kim as the president of the World Bank.

Kim stepped down abruptly early this year, effective February 1, three years before the end of his term.

Announcing his nomination on Wednesday, Trump declared Malpass as a “special man”, and as someone who was eminently qualified for the position.

“America is the largest contributor to the World Bank, giving it over USD 1 billion every year,” Trump said. 

“My administration has made it a top priority to ensure that US taxpayers dollars are spent effectively and wisely, serve American interests and defend the American values,” he added.

“Malpass is a strong advocate for accountability at the World Bank for a long time,” said the US president. 

The US has historically been allowed to choose the head of the World Bank, although that dynamic has more recently faced opposition from other nations. Nominating someone who has been so openly critical of the bank could intensify that resistance.

Malpass has been a point person in the Trump administration’s trade negotiations with China and has overseen the government’s relationship with the World Bank.

He is also a long-time critic of the World Bank’s lending practices and its business model and has expressed concern about the power that multilateral institutions exert. 

If approved, he is expected to push the bank to narrow the focus of its lending to the world’s poorest countries, among other changes.

His nomination has stirred debate, as some worry that Malpass will seek to reduce its role.

His appointment could also prove controversial given as some analysts fear that the Trump administration could politicise the role and use it to curb China’s growing influence around the world.

White House officials said Malpass, a long-time Republican, would be a “pro-growth reformer”. 

Given the vote share of various countries inside World Bank, the confirmation of Malpass as its next president is now a mere formality. 

In his current capacity as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Malpass oversees the working of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. 

An internationally renowned economist, Malpass brings 40 years of experience in economics, finance, government, and foreign policy to his new assignment, Trump said.

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