In his opinion piece for The Daily Nation Newspaper in Kenya, Dr James Mwangi, the Group CEO of Equity Bank, has expressed his support for Ajay Banga’s nomination as World Bank President by President Joe Biden. Dr Mwangi believes that Banga’s professional experience and personal upbringing have exceptionally prepared him for this role. He also praises Banga’s empathetic heart as a leader, which will be instrumental in putting the wellbeing of societies at the center of his development strategy at the World Bank.
Dr Mwangi argues that the World Bank needs a fresh perspective and fresh solutions to drive the reconstruction of the developing economies, which have carried the greatest burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resource impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He believes that the choice of the leader to deliver the modern reconstruction with innovation, resourcefulness and pragmatism will determine the speed and the success of the World Bank agenda, and Ajay Banga extraordinarily fits this bill for several reasons.
Why Ajay Banga Fits The Bill – Dr Mwangi
Firstly, his experience in both the public and private sectors, including rolling up his sleeves to deliver financial inclusion and microfinance access to billions of people, gives him first-hand knowledge of the needs and aspirations of communities and economies in emerging markets. Secondly, his tour of duty on the global scene, including most recently as CEO of Mastercard for more than 11 years, a global financial institution known for its commitment to technology-driven financial inclusion to leapfrog financial access, particularly in the Global South, prepared him well for this role.
Dr Mwangi believes that Ajay Banga‘s service in multiple private sector companies and philanthropic institutions, and his commitment to trade and socioeconomic development on a global scale, give him the foothold and network to leverage on in taking the World Bank forward. He argues that Ajay carries deep conviction and demonstrates dedication towards socioeconomic empowerment, and given the World Bank platform, he will deepen and broaden pathways that empower communities to drive equitable socioeconomic development through small and medium enterprises and create possibilities for wealth creation among the poor.
Furthermore, Dr Mwangi believes that Ajay Banga will awaken the potential of emerging markets through practical solutions that will unlock their latent potential. He will also get the opportunity to influence the next generation of leaders to embrace and champion fairness and inclusion across the world.
In conclusion, Dr Mwangi argues that the challenge of driving a development institution like the World Bank at a time when the world is reconstructing all over again requires a leader who is agile, connected with communities, empathetic and bold, yet centred on human principles of equality and justice, and someone who is not new to the socioeconomic challenges of the developing world. Ajay Banga fits the bill of that leader.