World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. Picture: REUTERS
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. Picture: REUTERS

Jim Yong Kim said he’ll step down as president of the World Bank Group at the end of the month, leaving a void at the top of the development lender as it grapples with turbulence in emerging markets and US doubts about the usefulness of multilateral institutions.

Kristalina Georgieva, the lender’s second in command, will take over as interim president on February 1, the Washington-based bank said on Monday in a statement. In an e-mail to employees of the bank, Kim said he’ll join a private firm focused on infrastructure investments in developing countries.

“The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I’ve concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets,” Kim said.

Kim began his second five-year term at the bank on July 1 2017, after convincing the lender’s board of directors to reappoint him.

The Trump administration has put pressure on the World Bank to justify its lending practices, including loans to China. But in April, the lender won support from its member countries for a $13bn capital increase, after the US dropped its objections.

The US is the largest shareholder in the development lender, which was conceived during the Second World War to finance the reconstruction of Europe but has since focused on alleviating extreme poverty around the world.