• Sunday, March 26, 2023


Indian-Americans hail Biden over nominating Ajay Banga to World Bank chief post: ‘An inspired choice’

(L-R) Ajay Banga (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) and US president Joe Biden (Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Eminent Indian-Americans on Thursday (23) praised US president Joe Biden saying the latter made an inspired choice by nominating Ajay Banga to the position of the president of the World Bank.

They also called Banga a global leader in technology, data, financial services and innovating for inclusion.

On Thursday, Biden nominated the 63-year-old Indian-born business leader to lead the elite financial body. If confirmed by the World Bank’s board of directors, Banga would become the first-ever Indian-American and Sikh-American to head either of the two top international financial institutions: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“In nominating him to this position, the president has made an inspired choice,” Indiaspora founder and chairman M R Rangaswami said after the White House announcement.

Especially relevant, given recent commentary around the Bank’s mission and objectives, is that Banga brings a sharp focus on climate resiliency and environmental sustainability, Rangaswami, a venture capitalist and philanthropist from Silicon Valley, added.

Banga’s deep expertise and several years of experience in the fields of financial inclusion, public-private partnerships, and climate finance make him a phenomenal leader to head the multilateral institution, US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) said.

Notably, Banga had an instrumental role to play in the formation of the USISPF. He is a founding board member of USISPF. A former CEO of MasterCard, Banga is the vice chairman of General Atlantic.

“Ajay is a tireless believer in both the strength of US-India ties and strengthening the relationship even further. Ajay has been instrumental in setting up USISPF as a founding board member and a vital pillar in our success over the last five years,” said Mukesh Aghi, president of USISPF.

“Ajay’s background in his early years in India, gives him a deep understanding of the emerging market world and bridging the gaps in gender parity and working towards poverty alleviation, issues at the core ethos of the Bank’s mission,” Aghi said.

Banga’s work with Citigroup, MasterCard, General Atlantic, and USISPF will allow for a seamless transition to mobilizing resources in public-private partnerships to tackle issues on climate, water resources, food security, and healthcare, the forum said.

“It’s another proud chapter in the success stories of the Indian-American diaspora, and I wish Ajay all the best for this new inning,” said Aghi.

Sanjeev Joshipura, Indiaspora’s executive director said that Ajay Banga’s global private sector background, during which he initiated and led Mastercard’s financial inclusion efforts, will be of immense value in enhancing his effectiveness as the World Bank president.

“Moreover, as the first Indian-born nominee to this role, he brings a lived understanding of the challenges faced by developing nations. Large, complex and multifaceted problems, such as those the World Bank endeavours to resolve, are not new for Ajay to handle,” he said.


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