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World Bank president candidates


There are three candidates for the next president of the World Bank.

They are Jim Yong Kim from the US, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria and Jose Antonio Ocampo from Colombia.

The US has always held the position since the World Bank was founded in 1944 and several names were rumoured to be under consideration by President Barack Obama.

But there has been increasing pressure for the next head of the Bank to be from a developing nation.

Jim Yong Kim

Many economists had been rumoured to be under consideration by President Obama, so when Dr Jim Yong Kim was named as his choice it came as somewhat of a surprise.

media captionDr Jim Yong Kim takes part in the Dartmouth College Idol competition

The 52-year-old is a leading figure in global health.

A doctor and former director of the HIV/Aids department at the World Health Organization, he also co-founded the health charity Partners in Health in 1987.

Born in Seoul, he moved with his family to the US at the age of five and grew up in Muscatine, Iowa.

In high school, he was valedictorian and president of his class, played quarterback for the football team and point guard for the basketball team.

He attended Brown University before going on to Harvard where he earned his medical doctorate in 1991 and a PhD in anthropology in 1993.

He became president of Dartmouth College in 2009, where he made a memorable appearance as a rapping spaceman, complete with white, studded leather jacket, at a college talent show.

Married to a fellow doctor, and with two young sons, Dr Kim said he joined Dartmouth "to be more effective at making the world a better place".

He will hope to do the same at the World Bank.

Though a surprise choice, he is still the favourite for the top job, given the US holds the most votes at the World Bank.

The Nigerian finance minister has been endorsed by three African countries - South Africa, Angola and Nigeria - and is seen as a very serious candidate.

image copyrightReuters

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, 57, was previously a managing director at the World Bank, appointed by Robert Zoellick in October 2007, a role she held until last year when she took up her government position.

She is in her second stint as finance minister, having also served under former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

She studied at Harvard and earned a PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The married mother-of-four has won many awards, including Time magazine's European Hero in 2004, Euromoney Magazine Global Finance Minister of the Year in 2005, and the Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister of the Year in 2005.

image copyrightReuters

Mr Ocampo is best known as the former finance minister for Colombia - though he has also held other posts in government, including agriculture.

He is well respected for a series of policies that helped his nation avoid the worst of the financial crises that have struck Latin America over the years.

Currently, he is professor of professional practice in the International and Public Affairs department of Columbia University in New York.

He has also been a visiting fellow at Oxford and Yale.

Mr Ocampo has held a number of positions in the United Nations, including as UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs.

He also took charge of the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and turned it into a regional development powerhouse.

He received his BA in economics and sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 1972 and his PhD in economics from Yale University in 1976.

Prof Sachs, a poverty campaigner and development economist, made a very public bid for the nomination, something that nobody had ever done before.

image copyrightReuters

He has been openly critical of the outgoing Robert Zoellick, and how the Bank has been run. He believes the organisation should be led by a development expert.

The 57-year-old is currently the head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon.

From 2002-2006 he was director of the UN's project working on the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to reduce poverty and hunger, and improve health standards around the world.

Prof Sachs says that after 27 years dedicated to fighting hunger, poverty and disease in developing countries, he was uniquely qualified to run the World Bank.

He had the backing of several smaller, developing countries - including Uganda, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ghana, Chile, and Guatemala - but he withdrew from the race following the announcement of Jim Yong Kim's nomination.

"Prof Sachs supports Dr Kim 100% and with complete enthusiasm," his spokeswoman said.

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