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World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Jim Yong Kim suddenly stepped down Monday as president of the World Bank, 3 years ahead of the end of his second 5-year term. Kim’s resignation is expected to spark a heated debate over leadership of the World Bank.

The big picture: At issue is whether the presidency should reflect the needs of donors or recipients. While the U.S. candidate has always been picked as president — an informal tradition since the bank's founding in 1944 — the board of directors, made up of donor countries, is likely to challenge a U.S. candidate because of growing opposition to historical U.S. dominance of the institution. Given that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest recipients of bank funds, the timing could be ripe for an African leader.

Between the lines: An African president would better understand the finance needs of Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Over the next three fiscal years, the World Bank has earmarked $57 billion for the region, with three-fourths of the funds coming from the International Development Fund (IDA), which is dedicated to the world’s poorest countries.
  • Over half of IDA funds are expected to flow to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Why it matters: Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s least-developed region, has especially great geopolitical implications. As long as economic opportunity remains scarce on the continent, Africans will migrate elsewhere, particularly to Europe. Rising migration levels have led to the rise of populist parties in Hungary, Austria, Germany and elsewhere, undermining liberal democracy and posing an existential threat to the EU.

In the years to come, demographics and climate change could further exacerbate migration flows:

  • Africa’s population is predicted to surge, doubling in size to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, making it the youngest population in the world.
  • Unpredictable weather patterns and environmental degradation resulting from climate change in the arid Sahel and Horn will worsen food insecurity and jeopardize livelihoods.

What’s next: The race for the World Bank presidency will be hotly contested in the coming months, with many donor and recipient countries rallying against a Trump appointee. Sub-Saharan African countries will push to advance a candidate who is receptive to their needs.

Paulo Gomes is the founder of Constelor Investment and a co-founder of New African Capital Partners.

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker