Uncertain Chinese support for Indian-American Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank

On Wednesday, China expressed hesitance in supporting Indian-American businessman Ajay Banga for the position of World Bank president, stating it is “open” to supporting “other viable candidates” on the basis of merit.

According to reports out of Washington, 63-year-old Banga, who has been nominated by US President Joe Biden to lead the Bank, is scheduled to go to China on Wednesday to meet with representatives of the People's Bank of China and ask for Beijing's endorsement of his candidacy.

When asked whether China would support Banga, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a local press conference that “we have acknowledged the candidate selected by the US side and are open to other viable options”.

According to him, the World Bank is the most powerful multilateral development organization in the world and is crucial to the systemic development and elimination of global poverty.

China, a significant World Bank shareholder, “stands ready to collaborate with all parties for an open, transparent, and merit-based presidential selection process,” he said, directing the media to the appropriate authorities for additional information.

In a statement last month, Biden said that the United States is proposing Banga as its choice to manage the World Bank, claiming that the Indian-American entrepreneur is particularly qualified to do so at “this vital juncture in history.”

Banga would become the first Indian-American and Sikh-American to lead either of the two leading international financial organizations, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, if she were to be approved by the World Bank Board of Directors.

Banga is the vice chairman of General Atlantic at the moment. Prior to this, he led the corporation through a strategic, technical, and cultural revolution as President and CEO of Mastercard. In 2016, he received the Padma Shri honor.

In a statement, President Biden stated that Ajay was “uniquely suited to head the World Bank at this vital juncture in history.”

“He has spent more than three decades founding and leading successful, international businesses that bring investment to emerging nations and generate employment, as well as navigating organizations through times of profound transformation,” added Biden.

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