MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will back Jim Yong Kim, the U.S. nominee for the next World Bank head, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday after meeting the candidate, who is in Moscow on his world tour to drum up support.
"Taking into account Mr. Kim's considerable professional qualities as well as his experience and knowledge, the Russian Federation will support the candidacy of Jim Yong Kim during the voting by the bank's board of directors," the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement.
The statement added that Kim had gained extensive experience working in Russia when he served in the World Health Organisation (WHO).
While there, he led a WHO initiative that is credited with providing access to HIV treatment to millions of people in developing countries.
Kim served in various roles at the WHO from 2003-2005 according to a copy of his CV posted on the Darmouth College website.
Kim, a public-health expert and former president of Dartmouth, already has been in Asia and parts of Latin and Central America to meet finance chiefs. On Wednesday, he was interviewed by World Bank directors.
Russia is the first of the BRIC countries -- an acronym that refers to the four rapidly growing economic powers Brazil, Russia, India and China -- to come out in support of Kim.
Two other candidates also are vying to succeed the current World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, when he steps down. They are Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.
However, sources said earlier on Friday that Ocampo is set to withdraw his nomination as emerging and developing countries agree to coalesce around a single nominee.
The job traditionally has gone to an American.
A decision on Zoellick's successor is expected to be made public by the time the bank and its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, hold semi-annual meetings in Washington April 20-22.
(Reporting by Alfred Kueppers; Editing by Michael Roddy)