Jim Yong Kim wants a more efficient, flexible World Bank

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. Photo by: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

After months of being relatively mum on his plans for the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim is finally opening up over the kinds of reforms he wants to pursue.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Kim said he will discuss his reform agenda at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings to be held Oct. 9-14 in Tokyo, Japan. The agenda, he said, would revolve around “streamlining our procedures and becoming more nimble.”

“I am going to ask the governors to work with us so the organization can move to a model where we move more quickly, we can make mid-course corrections more easily and where our board and our governors focus much more on holding us accountable for results on the ground in countries, rather than focusing so much on approval of large loans,” Kim explained, as quoted by Reuters.

The World Bank should “rethink what we pay attention to, the number of steps that we have to go through to get a loan approved, or to change policy,” he added.

The statement echoes remarks he delivered in July at the Brookings Institution, where he also hinted at broad reforms to ensure that in the end, the World Bank would be judged by results and not by intentions.

Kim would not be proposing specific reforms at the Tokyo meeting. He said he would identify specific changes at the next meeting of World Bank member countries in April 2013 in Washington, D.C.

One thing is for sure: a capital increase is not on his agenda — at least not yet. There is no appetite for an increase, he said, adding that “this is something I don’t think the donor countries are ready for.”

World Bank governors last approved a capital increase in 2010, the same year they agreed to boost the voting power of developing countries. The bank’s Development Committee at that time also endorsed an internal reform agenda, which some experts said did not move forward because of powerful entrenched interests in the institution.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.