I welcome and congratulate Jim Yong Kim, medical doctor and Ph.D. anthropologist, on his selection to become the next president of the World Bank.
While a more transparent, merit-based selection process (one which I believe Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would have won) remains an important goal to which the World Bank should aspire, I still think Dr. Kim's selection is an indication that the World Bank will begin responding to our changing world.
Those changes include the growing importance of development projects funded locally or regionally, through tax revenues or other sources with stronger ties to the communities most affected by development work--such as emerging market pension funds.
As nations in the Global South have economically outpaced their northern neighbors in recent years, the time is ripe to reduce the reliance once and for all on northern sources of funding for development.
I will watch closely to see if Dr. Kim can move his new World Bank colleagues to focus more on becoming a "knowledge bank", responding to the technical and analytic challenges of building institutions, while focusing less on using global public capital to go where global private capital once avoided.
Maybe I'm crazy, but it shouldn't be required to have a Ph.D. in economics or a background in finance to convince an institution full of such folks that instead of just lending money they should also provide technical assistance for governments to raise more of their own money through taxes, traditional bond offerings and other mechanisms--social impact bonds anyone?
I will also watch closely to see if Dr. Kim can begin marching the World Bank down the path to stewarding global public goods, particularly in regard to the environment as well as global health challenges that cut across national lines.
In his time as a global health professional, Dr. Kim pioneered methods of involving the community in addressing symptoms of poverty such as AIDS and Tuberculosis. More than anything else, I will be watching closely to see if Dr. Kim will now find ways to involve communities in addressing the root causes of poverty -- weak institutions and predatory ruling classes. And that in particular is a challenge that does not depend on external financial support to governments of developing nations.
Oscar Abello is senior program associate for communications at R4D.