With Banga’s nomination top World Bank positions to be held by Sikhs


With US President Joe Biden nominating Ajay Banga, the former Indian American head of Mastercard, to head the World Bank, the top posts in the global financial institution will be held by Sikhs.

Before Banga, who is slated to take up job – which, by convention, is reserved for a US citizen – this May, the World Bank already has a Sikh in a top post, with Indermit Singh Gill as its Chief Economist.

Gill is primarily known for pioneering the concept of the “middle-income trap” to describe how countries stagnate after reaching a certain level of income.

Gill, an Indian citizen, studied at St Paul’s School, Darjeeling and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, the same institution as Banga, but a year or two junior.

Like Banga, Gill is also the son of a senior Indian Army officer.

Before taking over Chief Economist on September 1, 2022, Gill served as the World Bank’s Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions, where he played a key role in shaping its response to the extraordinary series of shocks that have hit developing economies since 2020.

Between 2016 and 2021, he was a professor of public policy at Duke University and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program.

Widely regarded for his contributions to development economics, Gill spearheaded the influential 2009 World Development Report on economic geography, as per his World Bank profile.

He has published extensively on key policy issues facing developing countries, among other things, sovereign debt vulnerabilities, green growth and natural-resource wealth, labour markets, and poverty and inequality.

Gill has also taught at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago

Biden’s nomination of Banga follows his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama nominating Korean-American ‘Jim’ Yong Kim for World Bank chief to ensure that the World Bank is headed by someone with a developing-country background

Biden was then Vice President.

If confirmed by the World Bank Board, Banga will be the first person of Indian descent to head the World Bank. He will succeed David Malpass, who was appointed to head the bank by then President Donald Trump.

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