Kim: 'I'm both humbled and inspired to take over today as President'


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World Bank Group President Jim Yong KimNew World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said he has “unshakable optimism” the institution can accomplish much in the next five years through increased openness, innovation, academic rigor, and working “with the people living in poverty we aspire to serve.”

“I'm honored today to assume the presidency of the World Bank Group. I've spent most of my adult life working in some of the poorest communities in the world,” Kim told reporters as he entered Bank headquarters. “And in my work, what I've learned is that the World Bank is the most important development institution in the world. I'm both humbled and inspired to take over today as President."



“We need data, we need evidence, we need to be very tough in how we analyze the data, what it says to us about moving forward … but every day we should bring an optimism of the spirit to our work,” Dr. Kim told staff gathered for a town-hall style welcome.

Acknowledging he is taking the helm of the institution during a pivotal time in the world economy, Dr. Kim said he has heard many times in the last few months that countries most want prosperity, growth, and jobs. And they want the Bank to help in a way that is friendly to the environment and sustainable.


In a later statement, Dr. Kim said the global economy remains highly vulnerable.


“We need to boost confidence in markets and within the private sector,” he said. “And we need to boost confidence among citizens that our economic system and policies can deliver more sustainable, fair and inclusive economic growth.”

One of Dr. Kim’s top priorities is to draw on the expertise of staff and the public on the best ways to deliver results on the ground and amplify the voices of the poor. More than 60 questions and comments for the new president have already come in from more than 25 countries, posted in Arabic, French, English, Korean, and Spanish through “Ask Jim Kim,” a special World Bank Live launched July 1. Questions and comments have also been flowing in from Twitter using hashtag #AskJimKim.

Stay tuned for another video where Dr. Kim will respond to several of your queries.


“I have seen you in the field,” Dr. Kim told staff. “I have worked in so many different places, where the excellent quality, the academic rigor, the attention to detail the Bank staff brings has been legendary.”

“We share a passion, and moreover, we have a unique opportunity,” added Dr. Kim, 52, who immigrated to the United States at age 5 from his native South Korea – which he noted was once a poor country but now an economic power. “This is the moment for us to step up and help countries down the path of prosperity and eradicate poverty from the face of the earth.”

Dr. Kim
is widely recognized for his initiatives to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in developing countries. A physician and anthropologist, he comes to the Bank from Dartmouth College, where, as president, he managed a staff and faculty of 3,300 and a budget of $700 million. He is the first World Bank president selected through a new process that for the first time yielded multiple nominees for the position. 

Dr. Kim’s statement said that “a central part of my responsibility in the next five years will be to ensure that the Bank’s distinctive strengths are aligned with the needs of a world in transformation and transition.”

“Together, with partners old and new, we will foster an institution that responds effectively to the needs of its diverse clients and donors; delivers more powerful results to support sustained growth and help governments to become more accountable to citizens; prioritizes evidence-based solutions over ideology; harnesses and attracts the best talent; amplifies the voices of developing countries; and draws on the expertise and experience of the people we serve.”

Join the Conversation

July 03, 2012

Hi Dr Kim:
Everybody wants to promote growth. Do you know how to promote growth? If it was so easy , then everybody would have done it. You wouldn't have the chance to become the president of the world bank. The fact is everybody talks about it but nobody knows the magic formula.
Tell us what's your big development idea during your tenure. Do you have any plansDon't leave it to the economists, they don,t have any darn idea!

Dr. Onga Nana, Maximilien
July 08, 2012

A Matter of Good Global Governance: Whose interests is Multilateralism serving?

Multilateralism is a term in international relations that refers to multiple countries working in concert on a given issue. Although since the beginning of the modern period between 1500 and 1800, with excessive maritime navigation, the triangular commerce and the rivalries between dominating nations of Europe, there were treaties or multilateral consultations which could be given the credit for ending slavery and on agreements on the management of the world-wide maritime space of which the spice trade road with India; history reports that the first modern instances of multilateralism occurred in the nineteenth century in Europe after the end of the Napoleonic Wars where the great powers met to redraw the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna. Conferences such as the Conference of Berlin in 1884 (during which participating powers divided African territories among themselves) helped reduce great power conflicts among European nations coveting Africa’s resources. These forums for concertations and negotiations were instrumental in keeping relative peace during the 19th century in Europe.

The concert system was utterly destroyed by the First World War. After the 1914-1916 conflict, the League of Nations is created in order to try to prevent conflicts of similar scale. Today, there are myriad multilateral institutions of varying scope and subject matter, not all of them belonging or maintained within the UN system.


The multilateral system has encountered mounting challenges since the end of the Cold War. The United States has become increasingly dominant on the world stage in terms of military and economic power, which has led certain countries (Iran, China, and India) to question the United Nation's multilateral relevance. Concurrently, a perception has developed that the United States is more inclined to act unilaterally in situations with international implications.
With the Obama administration, an attempt to realign the course of US foreign policy to multilateralism is been observed. However, the desire to assert power and to please key allies in specific strategic issues is heavily twisting multilateralism to become a system to be used to serve unilateral interests. Both in economic and geopolitical decisions, the use of military “macht” for the advancement of unilateral and sometimes coalesced singled interests are jeopardizing world peace and interests of the “unmächtig”.
Many proponents of multilateralism are suggesting redeployment. In an article published in the NYtimes on October 24, 2008, Robert B. Zoellick, president of the World Bank Group talks about a New Multilateralism that is to rely on national leadership and cooperation. Beyond the G-7 deemed not sufficient, Robert B. Zoellick pleads for a better group for a different time; a core group of finance ministers who would assume responsibility for anticipating issues, sharing information, mobilizing efforts to solve problems, and at least managing differences. He further advocates for a new steering group including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the G-7.
Once again the tendency is to continue to le multilateralism be defined by the powerful, and managed by the same powerful. To the eye of the many “unmächtig”, the purpose of this is solely to create the framework suitable to certain kind of businesses, to the exploitation of mineral rich countries, for the development of richer and more powerful nations, and to their own expansion. The only way to get there being to subscribe and support this agenda, and favor an even not so genuine kind of “growth”.
The urgency to rethink multilateralism is a matter of good governance.

System users‘ expectations and satisfaction are key metrics that can and should be used to measure pertinence and efficiency, and to retool a system intended to bring positive and sustainable change. Expectations and satisfaction is not only for the wealthy, mächtig ones who created the system but for those unmächtig that are part of this global bargain.

After Berlin in 1884, how to prove Africans that any similar gathering would not have the same purpose? And when they do, one should recognize their anti democratic scandalous intend and contend.

Conflicts avoidance among the powerful, which guided the first efforts in multilateralism need rethinking because of the fundamental meaning of conflict which should and must include the feeling of brutal exploitation, total lack of recognition a good number of mineral rich but military poor countries have.

Sustainable peace is conditioned by mutual trust in the concert of nations and in all kind of transactions engaging any individual or group of nations.

Transparency, fairness and accountability are not to be requested when it allows a certain firm to win a bid. It is integral part of the international bargain game, if all have to trust the system.
On another angle, the equation of the military force that seems to prevail owing to having been chosen by those that define the rules and yielding advantages from the system should be substituted to weighted system integrating the resources for which the appetite is at the center of all the geopolitical militaro -economical battles that guide the global business today. Refusing to give voice to the countries of which the resources are subject of these lusts is synonymous with gangsterism.

Many may disagree.