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World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim resigns

World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim. Photo: World Bank
World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim. Photo: World Bank
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced on Monday that he will be stepping down from his position with effect from February 1 after more than six years in office and that he would be joining a firm immediately and focusing on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries.
 
The details of this new position would be announced shortly, a press release from the World Bank said.
 
In addition to working on infrastructure investments, Kim announced that he will also be re-joining the board of Partners In Health (PIH), an organization he co-founded more than 30 years ago.  
 
“I look forward to working once again with my longtime friends and colleagues at PIH on a range of issues in global health and education.  I will also continue my engagement with Brown University as a trustee of the Corporation and look forward to serving as a Senior Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.”
 
Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, will assume the role of interim President effective February 1, the release said.
 
Kim's resignation has come at a time when he had about three years of his second term yet to go.
 
Kim, 59, a physician and anthropologist, took over as the 12th President of the World Bank in July 2012. In September 2016, he was reappointed for a second five-year term.
 
The release noted that during his six years in office, the World Bank's shareholders had provided strong support to multiple initiatives to ensure that  the Bank Group retains strong leadership in the world of global development. 
 
“It has been a great honor to serve as President of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime,” said Kim. “The work of the World Bank Group is more important now than ever as the aspirations of the poor rise all over the world, and problems like climate change, pandemics, famine and refugees continue to grow in both their scale and complexity.  Serving as President and helping position the institution squarely in the middle of all these challenges has been a great privilege.”
 
 
World Bank's Kim to resign, join private sector
Under Kim’s leadership, and with the backing of the Bank Group’s 189 member countries, the institution in 2012 established two goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity, focusing on the bottom 40 percent of the population in developing countries. These goals now guide and inform the institution in its daily work around the globe.
 
In addition, shareholders strongly supported measures to ensure that the Bank Group be even better positioned to respond to the development needs of clients: 
 
The Bank Group’s Fund for the Poorest, IDA, achieved two successive, record replenishments, which enabled the institution to increase its work in areas suffering from fragility, conflict, and violence. 
 
In April 2018, the Bank Group’s Governors overwhelmingly approved a historic USD$13 billion capital increase for IBRD and IFC that will allow the Bank Group to support countries in reaching their development goals while responding to crises such as climate change, pandemics, fragility, and underinvestment in human capital around the world. 
 
"Over the past 6+ years, the institutions of the World Bank Group have provided financing at levels never seen outside of a financial crisis.  
 
"Recognizing the power of capital markets to transform development finance, the Bank Group during Kim’s tenure also launched several new innovative financial instruments, including facilities to address infrastructure needs, prevent pandemics, and help the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes by climate shocks, conflict, and violence. The Bank is also working with the United Nations and leading technology companies to implement the Famine Action Mechanism, to detect warning signs earlier and prevent famines before they begin," the release said.
 
During his term, Kim emphasized that one of the greatest needs in the developing world is infrastructure finance, and he pushed the Bank Group to maximize finance for development by working with a new cadre of private sector partners committed to building sustainable, climate-smart infrastructure in developing countries.  
 
 Before joining the World Bank Group, Kim served as the President of Dartmouth College and held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2003 to 2005, as director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS department, he led the "3 by 5" initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which greatly to expand access to antiretroviral medication in developing countries.
 
In 1987, Kim co-founded Partners In Health, a non-profit medical organization that now works in poor communities on four continents.
 
Kim has received a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, was recognized as one of America's "25 Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report, and was named one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World." 
 
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