IFI Spotlight: The World Bank Is Remaking Itself as a Creature of Wall Street

New York Times, Jan 25, 2018
by Landon Thomas Jr.

In the fall of 2016, Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, sat down with some of the most powerful figures in the global economy.

Hosted by Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, their discussion focused on financial trouble spots around the globe. There was scant talk about poverty, which the World Bank has committed to eradicate. And as such, there was no cause for Mr. Kim to join the discussion in a meaningful way.

“I sat there and thought, ‘we are completely irrelevant to the majority of these countries,’” Mr. Kim recalled. “The I.M.F. is a systemically important financial institution. But we are seen as just a bunch of do-gooders.”

The World Bank, once a powerhouse of global finance, is searching for relevance. Mr. Kim’s unusual solution: embrace Wall Street.

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