FOE denounces pick for World Bank president

Friends of the Earth Denounces Biden’s Pick to Lead World Bank

WASHINGTON – Today President Biden announced that he will nominate Ajay Banga to be President of the World Bank. This comes on the heels of current World Bank President David Malpass’s announcement of resignation one week ago. Malpass, a Wall Street ally and climate denier, was nominated by President Trump yet decided to leave his post before completing a full term.

World Bank presidents are traditionally chosen by the U.S. as part of the country’s outsized power over the multilateral development bank. This disproportionate control by a Global North nation has fallen under criticism from environmental and civil society groups that are calling for WBG leadership that is more globally representative. When multiple crises like fossil fuel-driven climate change and unstable food systems require urgent attention, the bank’s status-quo operations are insufficient.

President Biden’s pick continues a long-standing pattern of choosing men who are tied to the private sector, rather than a leader in global development and social justice who can provide the guidance needed to transform the Bank. Banga, a current member of the Dow Chemical Company board of directors, and a former employee of multinational giants such as PepsiCo and Nestle, has a history of prioritizing corporate interests over climate and civil society.

Kate DeAngelis, International Finance Program Manager for Friends of the Earth, said this:

We don’t need another World Bank president who will further corporate interests like fossil fuels and industrial agriculture. The bank should be striving for just, equitable development as part of its vision and purpose to confront global challenges. Banga has no background in public service, mitigating climate change, promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing poverty or supporting a just energy transition. He represents U.S. corporations rather than the needs of 8 billion people around the world. 

We are also disappointed to see the World Bank continue a “boys’ club” tradition of male leadership rather than pursuing a female candidate with extensive background in human rights, environmental advocacy and sustainable energy development. Friends of the Earth calls for the U.S. to pursue a selection process that is more democratic and inclusive of Global South voices.

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