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Indian Leaders to Drive the World Bank's Vision in 2023 Ajay Banga, the Indian-origin former CEO of MasterCard, and Parameswaran lyer, the former CEO of Indian think tank NITI Aayog, are expected to soon join the World Bank as President and Executive Director respectively

By Soumya Duggal

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World Bank

At 63 years old, Ajay Banga, the former chief executive officer of MasterCard, has been nominated by US President Joe Biden to lead the World Bank, becoming the first Indian-origin person to receive such an honour.

Nominated by Biden for his "critical experience (in) mobilising public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change", Banga currently works as the vice chairman at US private equity firm General Atlantic that has reportedly invested over $800 million in EV charging solutions, solar power, and sustainable farming.

Many congratulatory messages commending the nomination have poured in on Twitter.

"Delighted to hear of the nomination of Ajay Banga for the position of @WorldBank President by @POTUS Joe Biden. Gr8 choice !" tweeted G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant.

"This would be another phenomenal addition to the list of Indian origin leaders at the helm of globally impactful organisations," tweeted Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl.

Notably, another Indian is set to join the World Bank. Former NITI Aayog CEO Parameswaran lyer, who spearheaded the Swachh Bharat Mission, a country-wide sanitation, in 2016, has been appointed as the Executive Director of the World Bank, a Personnel Ministry order recently said.

These announcements come at a time when Indian-origin leaders are heading not only global tech giants, such as Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna and, most recently, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan, but also foreign governments such as UK PM Rishi Sunak and Ireland PM Leo Varadkar.

As per convention, the president of the World Bank, the largest source of financial assistance to developing countries, is usually an American citizen (which Banga is) and the chairperson of the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a major financial agency of the United Nations, is a European citizen. The current World Bank head is David Malpass, who recently announced his plans to step down in June this year, almost a year earlier than the scheduled expiry of his term in April 2024, and the present Chairwoman of the IMF is Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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