Top US Treasury Department official David Malpass will be nominated by President Donald Trump to become the next World Bank president, it was reported late on Monday.
The selection, which is set to be announced on Wednesday, has raised eyebrows because of Malpass’ history of criticizing multilateral organizations, including the World Bank.
One source close to Malpass told The Washington Post on Monday that, if confirmed, he would seek to play a “constructive” role with the institution.
While the World Bank’s directors are mandated to have say over the nomination process, the board has followed a practice of approving the US nominee every year since the bank’s establishment in 1944.
In addition to his self-avowed wariness of globalism, Malpass has earned a reputation as a China hawk.
According to The Economist, “Two strands of thought shape his view: a conservative disdain for big, unaccountable bureaucracies and a hawkish distrust of China’s growing international ambitions. Awkwardly, the two are in tension with each other.”
“China has made substantial inroads into the [multilateral development banks] that are worrisome,” Malpass said in a US congressional hearing in December, noting a World Bank fund that works with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Unlike some critics of Beijing’s practices who hope China will learn from involvement in multilateral institutions, Malpass expressed wariness of their involvement.
“China is absorbing decades of financial know-how into its institutions in a few short years, a similar pattern to its absorption of manufacturing technology,” he said in his testimony.
Jim Yong Kim stepped down from his role as World Bank president on February 1, after serving for six years. Despite support from the US, his tenure was plagued by reports of low morale at the bank as he carried out a reorganization of the institution.