Indian-American business leader Ajay Banga, nominated by US President to lead the World Bank, will be a transformative President of the international financial institution, Vice President Kamala Harris said here on Thursday. Banga, 63, currently serves as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, leading the company through a strategic, technological and cultural transformation. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2016.
“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 in a statement after Biden announced that he nominated Banga for the top World Bank position. If confirmed by the World Bank Board of Directors, Banga would be the first-ever Indian-American and Sikh-American to head either of the two top international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“Since I was elected Vice President, Ajay and I have worked closely together on a new model of a public-private partnership designed to address the root causes of migration in Northern Central America,” Harris said. Through that partnership, nearly 50 businesses and organisations have mobilised to generate more than USD 4.2 billion in commitments that will create opportunity and hope for people in the region, Harris, the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected US Vice President, said.
“Ajay has brought great insight, energy, and persistence to the challenges of promoting economic development and tackling the root causes of migration as the institution works to deliver on its core development goals and address pressing global challenges, including climate change,” Harris said. In a separate statement, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen applauded Biden for nominating Banga for this position.
“I applaud President Biden’s decision to nominate Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank. He has the right leadership and management skills, experiences living and working in emerging markets, and financial expertise to lead the World Bank at a critical moment in its history, deliver on its core development goals and evolve the Bank to meet global challenges like climate change,” Yellen said.
“As a renowned executive, Banga has led a global organisation with nearly 20,000 employees, advocated for diversity and inclusion, and delivered results. His efforts have helped bring 500 million unbanked people into the digital economy, deploy private capital into climate solutions, and expand economic opportunity through the Partnership for Central America,” she said. This experience will help him achieve the World Bank’s objectives of eliminating extreme poverty and expanding shared prosperity while pursuing the changes needed to effectively evolve the institution to be fit for purpose for the world being faced today.
“Ajay Banga understands that those core objectives are deeply intertwined with challenges like meeting ambitious goals for climate adaptation and emissions reduction, preparing for and preventing future pandemics, and mitigating the root causes and consequences of conflict and fragility,” she said.
While the World Bank will continue to play a key role in improving the lives of people around the globe, it can’t do it alone, she noted. Banga’s track record of forging partnerships between the public sector, private sector, and non-profits uniquely equips him to help mobilize the private capital and press for the reforms needed to meet our shared ambitions, Yellen said.
“In doing so, the World Bank can serve as a force multiplier for good by setting the right agenda and catalysing action from across the spectrum – including governments, the private sector, other multilateral development banks, civil society and philanthropies,” Yellen said.