EXPLAINED | Everything about Ajay Banga, Indian-American executive nominated to lead the World Bank

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Ajay Banga, the former CEO of Mastercard was announced as the United States’ choice for the position of president of the World Bank on Thursday (February 23). 

Banga is “uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history”, US President Joe Biden said in a statement, adding that he “has critical experience mobilising public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga’s experience “will help him achieve the World Bank’s objectives of eliminating extreme poverty and expanding shared prosperity while pursuing the changes needed to effectively evolve the institution,” which include meeting “ambitious goals for climate adaptation and emissions reduction”.

Everything about Ajay Banga

– Banga is the first Indian-born nominee for the office of World Bank president. If chosen, he would replace David Malpass, a Trump administration appointee who said he would be leaving his position in June.

– Banga was raised in India before becoming a citizen of the United States. He was born in Pune, Maharashtra, a western Indian state, on November 10, 1959. His father, Lieutenant General Harbhajan Singh Banga, was in the Indian Army.

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– In addition to holding a variety of positions at Mastercard and on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc., Banga, who is presently vice chairman at the private equity company General Atlantic, has more than 30 years of business expertise. In addition, he has worked with companies including Citigroup, Pepsi, and Nestle as per his LinkedIn profile.

– He served as CEO of Mastercard for 12 years before stepping down in December 2021. The company stated a goal to attract 1 billion individuals and 50 million micro and small companies during Banga’s management, as reported by Moneycontrol. 

– In his role as co-chair of the Partnership for Central America, a group of private sector organisations, Banga collaborated closely with US Vice President Kamala Harris to mobilise resources for Northern Central America from the governmental, corporate, and nonprofit sectors.

– Working closely with the US government, Banga has a lot of expertise. He was chosen by then-President Barack Obama to join the President’s Advisory Council on Trade Policy and Negotiations in February 2015.

– In line with Biden’s statements, Banga’s candidature to lead the 189-nation organisation that fights poverty intends to put climate change front and centre. Banga is renowned for openly expressing his concern about the difficulty of addressing climate change. Under his leadership as CEO, Mastercard spearheaded the effort to form the Priceless Planet Coalition in 2020, a collection of around 100 businesses dedicated to making financial contributions to stop environmental degradation.

– Banga is a passionate supporter of closer connections between India and the US. In 2019, he asserted that the world needs a “mahagathbandhan” of the sort represented by the Indo-US strategic relationship, and that the “two greatest democracies” can contribute to this.

Indians leaving their mark in the US

The second member of the Indian-American community to enter the 2024 presidential bid after Nikki Haley is tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. He has pledged to “put merit back” and reduce dependency on China as he launches his 2024 campaign.

During a live interview with Tucker Carlson, a conservative political commentator on Fox News’ prime time programme, Ramaswamy, 37, who had parents who had immigrated to the United States from Kerala, made the declaration. He worked at a General Electric factory in Ohio.

Just last week, YouTube announced Neel Mohan as the new CEO. Susan Wojcicki, a former Google executive who stepped down from the role to concentrate on her family and personal endeavours, is replaced by Mohan.

Mohan, her deputy and the current Chief Product Officer of YouTube, will now take over as the CEO of the company.

What does the World Bank do? 

The World Bank is an international development organisation owned by 187 countries. Its goal is to eradicate poverty by providing financial assistance to the governments of its less wealthy members in order to boost their economies and raise the standard of life for their people. 

In terms of research facilities, the Bank is among the biggest in the world. It includes specialist divisions that counsel nations on issues pertaining to health, education, nutrition, finance, justice, law, and the environment.

The World Bank Institute, a different division of the bank, provides local research and educational facilities for local government and other official training.

It was founded in 1944 to aid in the post-World War II reconstruction of Europe and Japan. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is what it was formally known as (IBRD). It had 38 members when it originally started functioning in 1946. The majority of the world’s countries are currently members.

(With inputs from agencies)

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