U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-born public health specialist who is now the President of Dartmouth College, for the role of President of the World Bank.

Following the recent announcement by current Bank President Robert Zoellick that he would step down from his role at the end of June, there has been much speculation on who his successor would be.

Questions were also raised about whether a representative of a non-U.S. country could be considered for the role, which has traditionally been held by U.S. citizens only, alongside European occupancy of the Managing Director role at the Bank's sister institution, the International Monetary Fund.

With numerous emerging economies indicating an interest in the nomination process, two candidates who have already joined the race are Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Jose Antonio Ocampo, former Finance Minister of Colombia. Additionally, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs was said to have “the backing of several developing countries.”

Apart from these candidates, whose nomination challenges appear credible, rumours in Washington have hinted at a wide field of potential contenders, from Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State and Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary to Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and PepsiCo boss Indra Nooyi.

Yet the race appeared to bend in favour of Dr. Kim, as President Obama described the former Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School as “the right person to carry on [Zoellick's] legacy, and I know his unique set of skills and years of experience will serve him well.”

In nominating Dr. Kim, Mr. Obama underscored the importance of the Bank to the U.S. more broadly, saying, “When an entrepreneur can start a new business, it creates jobs in their country, but also opens up new markets for our country... And ultimately, when a nation goes from poverty to prosperity, it makes the world stronger and more secure for everybody. That's why the World Bank is so important.”

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