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Controversial Trump Pick David Malpass Appointed World Bank President


LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– David Malpass, who was picked by US President Donald Trump for the key slot of World Bank president, has officially been approved for the top role.

Mr Malpass, a Trump loyalist, was a senior economic adviser to the US president during his 2016 election campaign.

His appointment has stirred debate, as some worry that Mr Malpass, a critic of the bank, will seek to reduce its role.

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

The former Bear Sterns economist has criticised the World Bank in the past, along with other multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for being “intrusive” and “entrenched”.

Traditionally, the US picks the World Bank president, Europeans choose the IMF managing director, and the Japanese do the same for the Asian Development Bank.

‘Not willing to fight’

To become World Bank president Mr Malpass won unanimous approval from the institution’s executive board, which has 25 members.

The US holds a 16% share of board voting power and has traditionally chosen the World Bank’s leader.

China is the World Bank’s third-largest shareholder after Japan, with about a 4.5% share of voting power.

Professor Christopher Kilby, an expert on the economics of foreign aid at Villanova University near Philadelphia, said it is likely that China and other shareholders didn’t push back on Mr Malpass’ appointment as they “recognise that they are unlikely to succeed in derailing the US nominee.”

“Since they have seen President Trump punish those who stand up to him, they are not willing to fight the US,” Prof Kilby said.

In the past China has also not sought more power within the World Bank as some of its aims, including promoting the rights of indigenous peoples, do not align with Chinese domestic and foreign policy, Prof Kilby said.

Lending shift

The World Bank critic could narrow the focus of its lending to the world’s poorest countries, among other changes.

He has pushed for the World Bank to halt lending to China, which he says is too wealthy to deserve such aid.

And last year, he was part of negotiations over a package of World Bank lending reforms.

The US agreed to back a plan for shareholders to inject $13bn (£10bn) into the World Bank and its private lending arm, with conditions that aimed to limit the bank’s lending, and focus resources more on poorer countries.

The reforms are aimed at pushing more middle-income countries towards private sector lending, and limiting World Bank staff salary growth.