Banga the banker – Climate Weekly

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Ajay Banga's appointment has divided the climate community (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)


The ink is barely dry on David Malpass’s resignation letter but the US has already picked its candidate to be his successor, to positive noises from the bank’s other shareholders.

They’ve plumped for long-time Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to oversee the bank’s evolution into an institution which can tackle the climate crisis.

His name has got a mixed reception from the climate community.

To his supporters, he’s got invaluable and extensive experience at the highest levels of the private sector, a demonstrable interest in tackling climate change and, as an Indian in America, knows the global north and south.

To critics, he is “another advocate of neoliberalism” who built his career with Pepsi and Nestle, sat on the board of the Dow Chemical company and dined with Donald Trump.

This perception was not helped by a Republican congressman celebrating his nomination as a sign Biden is abandoning his “radical climate and social agenda”.

Banga would also be the 14th president in a row to be a man. Before his nomination, Germany’s governor Svenja Schulze said it was “definitely time for a woman”.

The next president will face pressure to up the radicalism of reforms. At their G20 summit this weekend, India will push for the bank to lend more money at cheaper rates to developing countries.

Officials from Barbados and Germany told Climate Home this week that the bank’s plan to loosen its spending rules does not go far enough.

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