How far will Jim Yong Kim push reform once he officially assumes his post as World Bank president on July 1?
In an opinion piece for the Guardian, Jonathan Glennie argues Kim’s appointment is one of several signs the World Bank is undergoing “radical reinvention.” Glennie, a Devex London 40-under-40 honoree in 2011, cites the bank’s shift in its stance on privatization and increasing focus on results as other signs of this reinvention.
Earlier this year, Devex correspondent Phil Thornton, in an exclusive feature, identified other things the World Bank is doing differently. A notable shift is the institutionwide effort to share its knowledge base in what World Bank officials have dubbed the “democratization of development.”
“Taking our knowledge, data, projects and putting them all online and developing systems where citizens can not only comment on project success, but can participate in their own development,” Caroline Anstey, a managing director of the World Bank, told Thornton at the time.
Kim’s appointment extends the United States’ grip on the bank’s top post, although he is the first U.S. nominee to face a strong challenger and first World Bank president elected under a new selection process designed to increase transparency and the clout of developing nations. Kim, a doctor who most recently worked in academia, is also the first bank chief without a private sector background.
Kim’s arrival at the World Bank has prompted speculation on how far the bank will reinvent itself given his “willingness to challenge orthodox economics and follow the evidence,” notes Glennie, who calls the “outspoken” Kim “the kind of shakeup” the World Bank needs “if it is to fulfill its destiny.”
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