Rohingya refugees at a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 2018 
Mohammad Ponir Hossain/REUTERS

The abrupt resignation of Jim Yong Kim as president of the World Bank on February 1—more than three years before the scheduled end of his term—sent ripples of concern through the global development community. With the multilateral system under sustained attack, the last thing it needs is instability at the top.

On February 6, U.S. President Donald Trump nominated David Malpass, a U.S. Treasury official, to succeed Kim at the bank’s helm. Other countries have until mid-March to put forward their own candidates, but the United States controls 16 percent of votes in the executive board, giving Malpass every chance of becoming the latest in a long line of American leaders at the bank.

The new president will face a big task. The institution’s core mission is to end extreme poverty and promote sustainable development. But the geography of poverty is changing, shifting more and more toward

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