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Biden names Indian-American Ajay Banga to head World Bank; Harris says will be ‘transformative’ chief

Washington/New York, Feb 23 (IANS) US President Joe Biden has named Ajay Banga, the former Indian American head of Mastercard, to head the World Bank, the white House said announced on Thursday.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Banga will be the first person of Indian descent to head the World Bank. He will succeed David Malpas, who was appointed to head the bank by fthen President Donald Trump. Banga will be the second American of Asian-American descent in that position; the first was Dr. Jim Yong Kim. The US has historically had a hold on the Presidency of the World Bank and the Europeans on the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history. He has spent more than three decades building and managing successful, global companies that create jobs and bring investment to developing economies, and guiding organisations through periods of fundamental change,” Biden said in a statement.

“He has a proven track record managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also Indian American, said in a separate statement: “Ajay Banga will be a transformative World Bank President as the institution works to deliver on its core development goals and address pressing global challenges, including climate change.”

Harris said she has worked with Banga since her election “on a new model of public-private partnership designed to address the root causes of migration in Northern Central America”, which was a key responsibility Biden entrusted her with to curb the flow of migrants from the region into the US.

Banga, who was born in India and studied at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College, is currently serves as vice chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard.

The White House said that over the course of his career, Banga has become a global leader in technology, data, financial services and innovating for inclusion.

He previously served on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc. He has worked closely with Vice President Harris as the Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission, a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.

Banga was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Padma Shri Award by India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021

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