The individual President Joe Biden has chosen to head the World Bank has ties to the Chinese business community.
Ajay Banga is presently the vice chairman of General Atlantic, one of ByteDance’s most influential investors. ByteDance, a Chinese firm, owns TikTok, and the app’s close ties to the Chinese Communist Party have raised security worries.
Under Banga’s leadership as CEO and president, Mastercard was granted permission to enter China’s $27 trillion payments industry in 2020.
Moreover, Banga sits on the board of Temasek, a Singaporean state-holding corporation with 22 percent of its investments in China.
The World Bank’s executive board must agree with the Treasury Department’s nomination of Banga. The tenure of employment is renewed after five years. If he is approved, Banga will take over for David Malpass.
According to a department spokeswoman, General Atlantic’s investment in ByteDance stretches back to Banga’s time at Mastercard, adding he has firsthand experience with the importance of protecting consumers’ data privacy.
Experts have voiced concerns about the selection.
Former IMF deputy director and current senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Desmond Lachman, warned in an email that the nominee could be in jeopardy if it is discovered that he has ties to China.
According to Lachman, Banga’s nomination was a mistake that indicated a lackluster vetting process and did not suggest a shift in Biden’s stance toward China.
However, human rights and national security lawyer Irina Tsukerman wrote in an email that the news of Ajay Banga’s commercial ties to China is hardly shocking. Therefore the appointment underscores Biden’s soft stance on China. It is consistent with the beliefs and goals of the Biden administration, and Banga’s nomination follows the same pattern as previous ones.
Dan Runde, director of the Project on Prosperity & Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, speculated that Banga was chosen because of his commercial experience. As well as being head of partnerships at the World Bank, Banga also worked for the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation.
Runde elaborated by mentioning Banga’s time at Mastercard and General Atlantic to show that there is a historical bias for bankers or persons with financial skills who they believe can fill that role.
According to Runde, the administration did not evaluate the choice based on how it would affect China but instead on how it would affect global warming.
According to Tsukerman, the primary motivation for nominating Banga was climate change.
According to her, the Biden administration places a high value on climate change but is hesitant to give up potential business prospects with China.
Runde mentioned that Banga was one of the Partnership for Central America’s two co-chairs. In 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris and other corporate leaders joined together to form a public-private partnership to attract more investment to the area.
Runde mentioned that Banga was one of four co-chairs of CSIS focusing on American trade policy.
In addition to being one of four co-chairs at CSIS on U.S. trade policy, Banga is well-known in Washington circles, according to Runde.
Runde and Tsukerman expect the World Bank will continue to view China as a developing nation and resume providing money to China under Banga.