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US Treasury Official Nominated to Lead World Bank

President Donald Trump greets David Malpass, under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs, and his wife Adele, after announcing his nomination to head the World Bank, during an event in the Rosevelt Room of the White House, Feb. 6, 2019, in W
US Treasury Official Nominated to Lead World Bank
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President Donald Trump has nominated David Malpass to lead the World Bank.

Malpass is currently an official with the United States Treasury Department. Trump called him the “right person to take on this…important job.”

Malpass has been a sharp critic of the 189-nation World Bank. He has said that the bank has worked too much on its own growth and not enough on its main duties, like fighting poverty.

On Wednesday, Trump spoke to White House reporters about his nominee.

“He has fought to ensure financing is (for) the places and projects that truly need assistance, including people living in extreme poverty,” the U.S. president said.

Malpass was an economic adviser to Trump’s presidential election campaign in 2016.

The nomination shows that the Trump administration wants more control over the World Bank. The bank is an international lending organization that assists developing countries. Its most recent president, Jim Yong Kim, left the position in January, three years before his term was to end.

Malpass has said that he will work at the World Bank to push the Trump administration’s goals for developing countries. One goal, he said, would be to make changes to the bank that he and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin helped negotiate.

Malpass also said he would work to improve the standing of women around the world. An important “goal will be to ensure that women achieve full participation in developing economies,” he said.

Criticism of international lending agencies

On Wednesday, the nominee met with reporters to explain his longtime criticism of the bank and its sister lending organization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Malpass said his efforts dating back more than 30 years have been aimed at reforming both organizations. He noted the work he had done in the Trump administration to get approval for a $13 billion capital increase for the World Bank. It was the bank’s first increase in eight years, and it included several lending reforms.

Malpass said he hopes to carry out other reforms, including enacting restrictions on loans to major developing nations, such as China and India.

Malpass said he believes these countries are too wealthy to receive economic aid. He said the bank’s loans to those countries took money that should be going to poorer nations.

“I am looking forward to working with China and others” to get repayment on their loans," Malpass said.

The World Bank and IMF were created in the 1940s. Since then, the bank has always been led by an American and the IMF has always been led by a European. The United States is the largest shareholder in both organizations.

Malpass served in Treasury and State Department jobs during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also worked at investment bank Bear Stearns, where he was chief economist before its 2008 collapse.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Associated Press and the Reuters news agency reported on this story. Susan Shand adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

achieve – v. to meet a goal

participation – n. joining in