World Bank President David Malpass To Vacate Seat in June

By Adedapo Adesanya

In an unexpected turn of events, the President of the World Bank Group, Mr David Malpass, announced his intention to step down from his position by the end of the bank group’s fiscal year on June 30.

In the position he served for more than four years, he focused on seeking stronger policies to increase economic growth, alleviate poverty, improve living standards, and reduce government debt burdens.

He said, “It has been an enormous honour and privilege to serve as President of the world’s premier development institution alongside so many talented and exceptional people.”

“With developing countries facing unprecedented crises, I’m proud that the Bank Group has responded with speed, scale, innovation, and impact. The last four years have been some of the most meaningful of my career.

“Having made much progress, and after a good deal of thought, I’ve decided to pursue new challenges. I want to thank our staff and boards of directors for the privilege of working with them every day to strengthen the effectiveness of our operations in the most challenging of times,” he added.

Mr Malpass, who was recommended by former US President, Mr Donald Trump, for the position, over the last four years spearheaded the bank group’s five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA, and ICSID) responses to global crises. He mobilised a record $440 billion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the sharp global economic slowdown, unsustainable debt burdens, climate change, and food, fertilizer, and energy shortages.

With developing countries under severe financial pressure, Mr Malpass frequently met with world leaders to discuss supportive policies, including debt reduction, to break the cycles of unsustainable debt.

Under his leadership, the group more than doubled its climate finance to developing countries, reaching a record $32 billion last year.

Mr Malpass also led efforts to enable and increase private sector investment and trade and contributed thought leadership to the Bank Group’s analytical products on fiscal and monetary policy, currency systems, and governance reform. He also strengthened the institution’s management and personnel and will leave the Bank Group with solidified finances and fundraising to support its AAA credit rating.

“The Bank Group is fundamentally strong, financially sustainable, and well positioned to increase its development impact in the face of urgent global crises,” said Mr Malpass.

“This is an opportunity for a smooth leadership transition as the Bank Group works to meet increasing global challenges, facilitate private investment, sharpen its focus on global public goods, and maintain strong momentum on operational delivery and portfolio performance for client countries,” he added.

Among some of his achievements are – the Climate Change Action Plan to better integrate climate and biodiversity with development and growth; $30 billion in projects to address the food, fertilizer, and fuel crisis facing developing countries; and the launch of the Pandemic Fund to improve preparedness, with initial pledges of $1.6 billion from 25 countries and donors among others.

His administration has not been without pressure as Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Change, Mr Selwin Hart, in 2021, called out the World Bank for not doing enough for climate action.

Pressure on Mr Malpass was reignited last September when he did not provide the expected answer within the scientific consensus around climate change, which drew condemnation from the US government.

So far, some names have emerged to take over the position, including the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms Samantha Power, the President of Rockfeller Foundation, Mr Rajiv Shia, and the deputy secretary of the US Treasury, Mr Wally Adeyemo.

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