Trump’s World Bank Group President Pick Seeks Improved Ties With China

David Malpass and Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump introduces the U.S. candidate in election for the next President of the World Bank David Malpass at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 6, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo)

The new president of World Bank Group, David Malpass, said during a news briefing late last week that the organization wants to improve its relationship with China. The organizational leader also noted that the world's second-largest economy has been transforming from a borrower to more of a donor.

According to China Daily, Malpass noted that the Chinese government was once one of the World Bank's major borrowers. Over the past decade, the Asian country has lessened its borrowing from the bank, indicating a stronger and more resilient economy.

"I am looking forward to a constructive relationship with China. It is one that is evolving," Malpass said, adding that the country "is becoming more of a donor to the World Bank." He said the bank values China's contribution towards strengthening the global economy.

During his speech, Malpass heaped praise on China's contributions to helping alleviate poverty. He said that during his visit in the country in February, he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping and agreed that countries around the world should help support the World Bank's ultimate goal of sharing prosperity and reducing poverty levels.

Malpass was nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump to become the new World Bank chief following Jim Yong Kim's sudden resignation earlier this year. While he has been critical of China in the past, analysts pointed out that he softened his tone this time as he continues to build trust among upper-middle-income countries.

Caixin Global reported that Malpass lauded China's natural evolution over the past years. He said the country is gradually transforming into one of the World Bank's bigger shareholders and donors. Malpass said he would continue to work with China in matters involving debt levels and project quality.

Meanwhile, the new World Bank president also set new goals for alleviating poverty worldwide. He said the economic slowdown is affecting many countries, particularly in Africa. It has been predicted that the continent will have almost nine in 10 extremely poor people by 2030.

According to CGTN, Malpass pledged that the World Bank would help reduce poverty in the Sub-Saharan Africa regions through developing an effective country program that targets this particular issue. He said this scheme would be achieved through cooperation between multilateral donors.

Malpass said he has met with the head of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Development Bank (AIIB), Jin Liqun. The World Bank chief said his meeting with Jin resulted in "very good conversations" that tackle methods that should promote lending programs to poor countries.

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