Ajay Banga, the former CEO of Mastercard that President Joe Biden has nominated to head the World Bank, told Axios Wednesday that both the bank and the private sector needed to spend “trillions” to combat both climate change and poverty.
Banga has been aggressively campaigning for the job, meeting with officials from 37 different governments in the past three weeks, Axios reported. The World Bank faces competing pressure from wealthy and developing countries over whether to focus on combating climate change or poverty mitigation, but Banga said he does not view the two goals as inherently opposed to one another.
“I think it’s a fallacious argument that says, either-or,” Banga said to Axios. “I have every intention of focusing the bank and its people on the idea that this is an intertwined challenge.”
The efforts to combat both climate change and poverty would cost “trillions of dollars a year” each, and the private sector would need to be a “constructive part of the solution,” Banga told Axios.
A group of developing nations including Russia, China and Iran signed a letter in February calling for the World Bank to “avoid measures” that might jeopardize its triple-A credit rating, the Financial Times reported. Banga said that the “only way” the World Bank can effectively combat climate change is if it maintains its triple-A rating, according to Axios.
Biden’s decision to nominate Banga, a former Wall Street executive with little background in climate issues, drew significant pushback from some environmentalists, who had been calling for a nominee that would aggressively tackle climate issues.
Banga was nominated after Trump appointee David Malpass — who is married to Daily Caller News Foundation president Adele Malpass — announced he would step down early from his role as the bank’s head on June 30.
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