World Bank Chief calls it quits

World Bank chief David Malpass will step down over a year before his tenure ends, giving the Biden administration a coveted opening to fill by June of next year. 

Why it matters: The World Bank is a key player in the global economy, strategically doling out loans to promote economic growth—including loaning out US$150 billion to support the world’s pandemic response, cajoling China into deeper international cooperation, pushing for debt relief for low-income countries, and funnelling financial aid to Ukraine.

  • Along with its twin institution, the International Monetary Fund, the bank forms the core of the new economic order set up by the Allies at the end of WW2. European leaders choose the director of the IMF, and the US picks the World Bank head.

Catch up: The Trump administration had nominated Malpass to head the World Bank in 2019. He mostly avoided controversy—until last year, when he enraged climate activists by suggesting fossil fuels don’t contribute to climate change (fact check: they do).

  • The bank’s boss has a lot of influence over where funding goes. Under Malpass, the bank mustered $32 billion for climate projects… and $15 billion for fossil fuel projects.

What’s next: Malpass’s departure opens the door to someone with different priorities. The smart money has already settled on two potential nominees: US Agency for International Development head Samantha Power, and Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah.