NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President Obama on Friday nominated Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, to be the next president of the World Bank.
Kim’s background is in medicine, not economics or business as has been the case with most previous World Bank presidents. He has worked with international organizations, serving as a senior official at the World Health Organization.

Kim is particularly known for his efforts addressing health concerns, including AIDS, in developing countries. He was one of the founders and former executive director of Partners In Health, a not-for-profit organization that supports health programs in poor countries.

“Despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries on the planet,” Obama said in introducing Kim in the White House rose garden. “It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.”

The World Bank was created along with the International Monetary Fund in 1944 to help the Allied powers shape the post-World War II economic order. It now includes 187 member states, offering loans and grants as well as technical expertise for development projects around the world.

But while the World Bank’s influence is felt most directly in the developing world, it’s the United States that has a stranglehold on its leadership. Under a tacit agreement in place since their inception, an American has always headed the bank while a European has been in charge of the IMF.
The World Bank and the IMF get their funding from their members, also known as shareholders, and it is this funding that is the basis for voting power on the organizations’ boards.

Those member states will vote on the new leader for the organization, but it is widely assumed that the U.S. nominee for the post would be the one confirmed by the full body.
As their largest contributor, the United States has the most voting shares on the groups’ boards at roughly 16%. The United States and Europe together have roughly half these shares, and have long been able to impose their will in matters of leadership.

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