Trump loyalist to head World Bank

9 Apr 19

A former US Treasury official nominated by US President Donald Trump has been appointed as the new president of the World Bank Group.

David Malpass was the only candidate for the post and will lead the development bank for five years after being selected by executive directors to replace interim president Kristalina Georgieva.

His appointment immediately came under fire by debt campaigners demanding a competitive selection process and greater accountability at the family of five global organisations that lend to developing countries.

“It is a missed opportunity that the selection process wasn’t competitive or transparent,” said Maria José Romero, policy and advocacy manager at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad).

“On the contrary, since the World Bank’s founding, there has been a gentlemen’s agreement where the United States and its European allies work behind closed doors to ensure a US citizen leads the World Bank, in exchange for the European leadership of the International Monetary Fund.

“This needs to change, as part of a larger effort to strengthen the legitimacy of the World Bank.” 

Malpass previously served as the US under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs where he represented his country at global meetings. 

He has played an key role in World Bank Group reforms and was instrumental in advancing the Debt Transparency Initiative adopted by the World Bank and IMF to increase public disclosure of debt.

Malpass occupied senior roles in the US Treasury during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush before becoming chief economist at the Bear Stearns bank where he worked for 15 years before it nearly collapsed in the 2008 banking crisis.

Known as a Trump loyalist, he was a senior economic adviser to the US president during his 2016 election campaign, and has been critical of the World Bank and IMF for being “intrusive” and “entrenched”.

The World Bank is made up of five organisations: 

  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • The International Development Association
  • The International Finance Corporation
  • The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
  • The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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