Former Mastercard CEO, Ajay Banga, will take over as the first Asian president of the World Bank on June 2 from outgoing president David Malpass, confirmed the World Bank’s 25-member executive board on Wednesday. The Indian-born American executive, since his nomination for the presidency of the World Bank, is considered the global development lender’s “face of change”.
His five-year tenure as the World Bank president will be of the essence to setting the path of the organisation in the field of climate change. Ajay Banga is also known mainly for his strong belief in the need to tackle climate change with utmost emergency. He also has big plans to rope in private players to deal with climate change.
His predecessor, David Malpass, stepped down from his presidency before the completion of his tenure because of his controversial take on climate change.
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Born in India, and brought up by an Indian army officer
Ajay Banga was born into a Sikh family in Pune, Maharashtra. He was brought up in an Indian family who used to travel across India, due to the challenging job of his father, Lt.Gen. Harbhajan Singh Banga (Retired). He was naturalised as a US citizen in 2007.
He started his career early by joining the Indian subsidiary of Nestle in India in the early 1980s. Later, he also led the payment company Mastercard for more than a decade between 2010 and 2021. Moreover, he also served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc. He also served as the vice chairman at General Atlantic.
Ajay Banga to use his financial expertise to tackle global warming
Ajay Banga has immense experience in the field of finance and development. He will play a key role in the World Bank to deal with climate change. He is also expected to bring private investment to tackle climate change. “There is not enough money without the private sector,” he told reporters in March, quoted AFP.
As for climate change, he added that the issue goes far beyond greenhouse gases. “My belief is that poverty alleviation or shared prosperity or all those words that essentially imply the idea of tackling inequality cannot be divorced from the challenges of managing nature,” he said in the earlier interview.
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