The new head of the World Bank is global health expert Dr. Jim Yong Kim, from the United States. While the president of the World Bank has always been an American, this time there was competition for the job by two highly-regarded candidates from developing nations. Kim brings a different approach than predecessors who were experts in foreign policy, business, banking or economics.
Kim obviously is a man of many talents.
Before his nomination to be president of the World Bank, he was president of Dartmouth College...
Where he played a comic role in a student musical.
More seriously, Kim also once headed United Nations' efforts to fight AIDS, founded a non-government organization that promotes healthcare around the world and taught at Harvard's schools of medicine and public health.
In YouTube videos posted by Dartmouth College, Kim tells students a broad education can help them solve tough problems. His education includes degrees in medicine and anthropology.
“In all the problems that I’ve taken on, I have not come at it from a purely philosophical or political perspective, but at one level, I’m a very practically-oriented physician that’s trying to solve problems so that people can live," said Kim.
In a preview of his approach at the World Bank, Kim analyzed the U.S. healthcare system, urged officials to focus on data and results, and called for a new approach.
“It is getting so bad that we think that finally there will be enough pressure so that we have to act. Unfortunately, for about the last 20 years, we have been saying that,” said Kim.
Critics say the World Bank deals with far more than just health care and they question whether Kim has enough experience to boost global growth to pay for improved health care, education and infrastructure. One economist said the president of the World Bank needs to change its "feudal" culture and focus on core economic issues.
Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, however, said Kim's experience running a college may be helpful.
"Because there you also have people that you can’t sack [fire], institutions that you can't do away with very easily," he said.
Officials passed over Nigeria's highly-regarded finance minister to pick Kim. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said her years of work at the bank and life experience would have made her a strong leader for the world's largest development institution.
“It’s not good enough to say you know about poverty. You have to live it to know what it means, and I did,” said Okonjo-Iweala.
A development expert who also is Colombia's former finance minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo, also sought the top World Bank job.