FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2023
Oil Change International response to Biden’s dangerous nomination of a Wall Street executive for World Bank President. He shouldn’t be allowed to name one in the first place.
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Biden Administration announced its nominee for the next President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga. Banga is the former president and CEO of MasterCard and a former executive at CitiBank and Nestlé. In response, Oil Change International experts released the following statements:
Collin Rees, United States Program Co-Manager at Oil Change International:
“President Biden’s choice of Ajay Banga is deeply disappointing. This moment demands a World Bank leader who will prioritize the urgency of the climate crisis, not another Big Business executive with no experience in development, environmental work, or the public sector.
“Banga’s long career at predatory banks and corporations does not inspire confidence that he would transform the World Bank into an institution that can work for people and the planet. On the contrary, it’s sadly ironic that his past work as a Nestlé executive aligns with the World Bank’s damaging history of water privatization.”
Bronwen Tucker, Public Finance Campaign Co-Manager at Oil Change International:
“Biden has chosen a planet-wrecking CEO for World Bank President. He shouldn’t be allowed to name one in the first place. This isn’t over — the rest of the world’s governments still have the opportunity to step in. They can and should nominate their own candidates, vote freely, and demand a fair process.
“The rest of the World Bank shareholders’ to-do list is clear. The World Bank cannot be trusted with more money for anything, let alone climate finance, until it stops doing harm. When you are in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. This means governments must make sure the Bank stops funding all fossil fuels, passes democratic voting reforms, and pursues serious debt cancellation.”
Notes to the Editor:
- A long-standing ‘gentlemen’s agreement‘ has allowed the United States to select World Bank Group presidents since its formation. Once the United States nominates a candidate for Bank president, Europe uses its large voting share on the Board of Directors to ensure the U.S. candidate is picked in exchange for the United States in turn supporting a European nominee for IMF managing director.
- Oil Change International’s Public Finance for Energy Database shows the World Bank Group provides more fossil fuel support than any other multilateral development bank, at an average of USD 1.4 billion per year from 2019 to 2021. Due to poor reporting, this likely understates fossil support through financial intermediaries and policy-based lending.
- Brand new data from Oil Change International (available by request) suggests this trend continued even as Malpass faced extra scrutiny last year. In 2022, we estimate World Bank Group provided at least USD 930 million in finance for fossil fuels. Roughly 94% of this finance was for fossil gas, which the 2021 WBG Climate Change Action Plan says can continue to be supported if it fits still-undefined climate and development criteria.
- Earlier this month, over 20 civil society groups sent a joint letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlining the transformational reforms needed at the World Bank in order to address systemic issues, including the climate crisis. These reforms — including ending financing for fossil fuels, rejecting misguided approaches to private finance and regressive policy advice, democratizing governance, and debt forgiveness, among others — would free up significant finance and political space for truly sustainable and just development solutions. New data from Oil Change International (available on request) shows this trend continued even as Malpass faced extra scrutiny in the Fall. In 2022, we estimate the World Bank provided USD 930 million in finance for fossil fuels. Roughly 94% of this finance was for fossil gas, which the 2021 WBG Climate Change Action Plan says can continue to be supported if it fits still-undefined climate and development criteria.