As a rule, these nominations have been monopolised by persons of White Anglo Saxon descent.
The nomination of a Person of Indian Origin in Ajay Banga to helm the World Bank says as much about the rise of the Indian diaspora in the land of opportunity, which the United States is, as the willingness of a meritocratic American society to accept its diversity and make a choice like this when it comes to a prestigious appointment.
The conferment of such a plum assignment on the former marketing professional, banker and credit card manager has been hailed by the Indian diaspora and India. It used to be said that you cannot stroll for a minute on any sidewalk in the cities of the western shore of the US without running into PIOs who have made it big in not only the IT industry but in many other sectors as well.
Many PIOs, who as leaders in their chosen field have transformed into tech titans, are looked upon as they control gigantic American global companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars in market capitalisation. Indra Nooyi may have blazed a trail in going on to head Pepsico while also breaking the glass ceiling. Today, the fingers on both hands are not sufficient to count PIOs who are corporate czars heading American global enterprises.
What makes Mr Banga’s nomination unique is that by tradition the President of the US nominates the World Bank president while naming the head of the IMF is the privilege of the European Union. As a rule, these nominations have been monopolised by persons of White Anglo Saxon descent. Not that Mr Banga’s appointment has been without traces of criticism concerning his vast experience in running private corporations when he is now facing a completely different challenge.
As a person who lived and studied in India, Mr Banga can be expected to have direct knowledge of the crippling poverty under which many live in the country. He should be a repository of far greater empathy for the disadvantaged peoples of this world in his primary role as World Bank president in poverty alleviation and development of the most deprived areas around the globe.
For years Mr Banga is said to have decried the ways consumers reliant on paper currency are let out of formal economies. He can use his experience as the one who turned Mastercard around to alleviate that as well as take up the fight against climate change and improving public health. A glance at Mr Banga’s CV would wholly justify Mr Biden’s choice.