Jim Yong Kim
Photo: World Bank / Simone D. McCourtie

What’s Next for the World Bank After Jim Yong Kim’s Sudden Resignation?

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim is stepping down at the end January. He made that announcement on January 7th, surprising most observers for the fact that he is resigning from his post with three years left in his second term.

This vacancy presents a key inflection point for the World Bank.

An American has always headed the World Bank. This is owing to a deal struck between the United States and Europe in which the US backs the European nominee for head of the International Monetary Fund while Europe backs the US nominee for head of the World Bank. That longstanding tradition may now come to an end.

Scott Morris is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and longtime observer and analyst of the World Bank. In this conversation we discuss Jim Kim’s legacy at the Bank and why his departure now sets the stage for a potential clash between the Trump administration and other governments over who will next lead the Bank.

If you have 20 minutes and want a deeper understanding of the broader international implications of Jim Yong Kim’s departure from the World Bank–and what it signals about the World Bank’s work during the Trump era —  have a listen.

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About Scott Morris

Scott Morris is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and director of the US Development Policy Initiative. In addition to managing the center’s work on US development policy, his research addresses development finance issues, debt policy, governance issues at international financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF, and China’s role as a development actor.

Morris served as deputy assistant secretary for development finance and debt at the US Treasury Department during the first term of the Obama Administration. In that capacity, he led US engagement with the multilateral development bank, as well as US participation in the Paris Club of official creditors. He also represented the US government in the G-20’s Development Working Group and was the Treasury’s “+1” on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. During his time at Treasury, Morris led negotiations for four general capital increases at the multilateral development banks and replenishments of the International Development Association (IDA), Asian Development Fund, and African Development Fund.

Morris was a senior staff member on the Financial Services Committee in the US House of Representatives, where he was responsible for the Committee’s international policy issues, including the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (the landmark reform of the CFIUS process), as well multiple reauthorizations of the US Export-Import Bank charter and approval of a $108 billion financing agreement for the International Monetary Fund in 2009. Previously, Morris was a vice president at the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, DC.