Who is Ajay Banga, the World Bank president nominee of US President Biden?

If approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors, Ajay Banga would be the first Indian-American and Sikh-American to lead the world’s premier financial institution.

Ajay Banga
Ajay Banga

The United States has nominated Ajay Banga to run the World Bank, with President Joe Biden claiming that the Indian-American business executive is particularly qualified to manage the institution at this crucial juncture in history.

If confirmed by the World Bank Board of Governors, Banga would be the first Indian-American and Sikh-American to lead the world’s premier financial institution.

Currently, the 63-year-old is Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Banga was previously President and CEO of Mastercard. Mastercard underwent a technological, strategic, and cultural revolution under his leadership. Banga led the worldwide organisation (MasterCard) with approximately 20,000 people, promoted diversity and inclusion, and produced results. His activities have contributed to the inclusion of 500 million unbanked individuals in the digital economy, the deployment of private finance towards climate solutions, and the expansion of economic opportunities through the Partnership for Central America.

In 2016, India awarded him the Padma Shri.

Biden stated in a statement that, in addition to helping organisations through periods of fundamental transformation, Banga has spent over three decades founding and managing successful global enterprises that create jobs and attract investment in emerging regions.

While stating that Banga has a proven track record of partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results and manage people and systems, the US President also stated that the Indian-American had significant experience mobilising public-private resources to address the most pressing issues of our time, including climate change.

Biden said that Banga, who was reared in India, has a unique perspective on the difficulties and opportunities facing developing nations, as well as how the World Bank can implement its ambitious mission to alleviate poverty and usher in prosperity.

As Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America, Banga has worked closely with Vice President Kamala Harris. Harris stated in her remarks regarding Banga’s nomination that he has brought enormous persistence, knowledge, and energy to addressing the core causes of migration and fostering economic growth.

Banga’s track experience of establishing partnerships between the public sector, the business sector, and non-profit organisations uniquely qualifies him to assist in mobilising private resources and pressing for the reforms necessary to achieve common goals. Throughout his career, he has become a global leader in technology, data, financial services, and inclusive innovation.

From 2020 to 2022, the Indian-American will serve as honorary head of the International Chamber of Commerce. He is also the chairman of Exor and an independent Temasek director. In 2021, he became a consultant for General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero.

Formerly, he served on the Boards of Directors for the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc. He is a Trilateral Commission member, a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.

Banga served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Strengthening National Cybersecurity and is the co-founder and vice chairman of the Economic Club of New York. He was previously on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

In 2012, he received the Foreign Policy Association Medal, in 2019 he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award, and in 2021 he will get the Outstanding Friends of Singapore Public Service Star.