World Bank chief quits

Briefly: World Bank President David Malpass will step down in June, a year before his term was set to expire. Malpass didn’t give a reason for his early departure. But like an AirBnB host saying their place is cosy (tiny), charming (weird) or close to nightlife (above a pub), Malpass said his exit was an “opportunity for a smooth leadership transition” (he was forced out).

Malpass, an American economist appointed by Donald Trump, has faced mounting pressure to resign since September when he declined to link fossil fuels to climate change (“I am not a scientist”). In response, the Biden Administration promised to hold Malpass accountable.

Intrigue’s take: Malpass’ critics undersell the World Bank’s commitments to climate finance, which doubled to $32B a year during his tenure. But there’s always someone else who can make you look bad: while the World Bank plans to direct 35% of its financing to climate projects by 2025, China’s own answer to the World Bank (the AIIB) is pledging to hit 50%.

Also worth noting:

  • The current president of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is considered Malpass’ most likely successor.