WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is nominating current World Bank President Jim Yong Kim for a second term leading the 189-nation international lending organization.
In making the announcement Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew praised Kim for using his first term at the World Bank to effectively address "today's most pressing global challenges in innovative ways, from ending extreme poverty and tackling inequality to combating climate change."
Kim, the former president of Dartmouth College, was first tapped by President Barack Obama to head the World Bank in 2012. Since the creation of the World Bank after the end of World War II, its leaders have all been American while the International Monetary Fund, its sister lending organization, has always been headed by a European.
Kim took over as the 12th president of the World Bank in July 2012. The World Bank's executive board on Tuesday voted to open nominations this week and bring the nominating process to a close by Sept. 14. It will then select as many as three candidates for interviews before making a decision.
Kim's current five-year term does not end until June 30, 2017. The administration by nominating Kim for a second term this far in advance would be able to get a decision from the board before a new U.S. president takes office.
In a statement, Kim said he would "be honored to be considered for a second term." The last World Bank president to serve two terms was James Wolfensohn, who was nominated for a second term by then-President Bill Clinton.
During his first four years in office, Kim has marshalled World Bank resources to deal with a number of crises from the Ebola pandemic in Africa to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.
Kim has also generated controversy during his tenure for his efforts to overhaul the World Bank's bureaucracy.
Lew praised Kim for spearheading "needed reforms at the World Bank to better leverage knowledge within the bank and enhance the use of the financial resources that shareholders provide."
In addition to serving as president of Dartmouth, Kim was the co-founder of Partners in Health and the former director of the HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization. A medical doctor and anthropologist, Kim has been involved in international development issues for more than two decades.