By Martin Crutsinger
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jim Yong Kim, the Obama administration’s nominee to head the World Bank, is starting a global tour to promote his candidacy with stops in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the Treasury Department announced on March 26.
Treasury officials said that Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, began his “listening tour” on March 27. He will meet with finance ministers and government officials in seven countries with stops planned in Ethiopia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Brazil, and Mexico. He will wrap up the trip on April 9.
Kim’s nomination for the World Bank job was announced on March 23 by President Barack Obama.
He is competing against candidates from Nigeria and Colombia, but he is considered a heavy favorite for the World Bank post, which has always gone to an American.
Kim’s selection was a surprise pick by Obama over better-known candidates. The administration called Kim the best candidate, citing his work in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world.
The 187-nation World Bank has been led by an American since its founding in 1944. Its sister lending organization, the International Monetary Fund, has always been headed by a European.
Several developing countries sought to break the U.S. hold on the position when current Bank President Robert Zoellick announced he would step down at the end of June.
The other two candidates in the race are Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.
The selection will be made by the World Bank’s 25-member executive board. The board has said it will interview all three candidates with the goal of making a decision before the April 20 start of the World Bank’s spring meetings. (end)