WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – The new World Bank president Jim Yong Kim has set his priorities at helping developing countries. The 52-year-old Korean-American physician officially started work last week after taking over from Robert Zoellick. Kim becomes the 12th president of the World Bank. Kim is the former president of Dartmouth College and is known for his role in global public health projects.

After taking office, Kim said his first task would be to help emerging markets to grow at a time of financial stress for the world economy. “My immediate priority will be to intensify the Bank group’s efforts to help developing countries protect growth and jobs,” he said.

Dr Kim, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, has broken the status quo of World Bank presidents, who have always been drawn from governments. Some experts, however, feel that his lack of economic experience could impair his adjustment in helping the global economy, especially in its current fragile state.

“This job is about financial crisis management, macroeconomics, understanding the workings of the European monetary union and what the risks are and prioritizing countries according to their needs,” said Uri Dadush, director of International Economics in of the Carnegie Endowment Washington. Dadush thus envisages a steep learning curve for Dr Kim.

In June this year, the World Bank warned developing countries to prepare for a long period of volatility in the global economy, cutting its outlook for 2013 global growth to three percent. According to Oxfam Great Britain’s chief executive, Barbara Stocking, Dr Kim will have to take fast action to protect developing countries from Europe’s debt crisis.

“The IMF is bailing out Europe; the World Bank needs to step in and shore up poor countries,” she said.

Reports indicate that financial troubles in Europe are casting a dark cloud over what should be a bright future for developing and emerging economies. Europe remains one of the biggest donors to poor countries and their most important export market.

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