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World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announces his departure

AP  |  Washington 

Jim Kim, the of the World Bank, announced Monday he is resigning at the end of January.

Kim's unexpected departure three years before his term was set to expire is likely to set off a fierce battle between the and other countries who have complained about the influence the exerts over the

In a letter to staff, Kim said that he has long believed that the key to bridging the gap between the massive financing needs of developing countries and the amount of support available was to work with the private sector.

"I have therefore decided that it's time for me to take on new challenges and fully focus my efforts on leveraging private for the benefit of people around the work," Kim said in his note to staff.

Kim's departure will give the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the post.

The 189-nation is the largest government source for development funding, providing low-cost loans for projects around the world.

Since the creation of at the end of World War II, its leaders have all been Americans. Its sister lending agency, the International Monetary Fund, has always been headed by a European.

Other countries, including and other Asian nations, have complained about this pattern. The IMF, which provides emergency loans to countries in economic crisis, is currently headed by former French Minister

Kim, the former of Dartmouth College, was first tapped by former to lead in 2012. He was nominated by Obama for a second term in August 2016. That term would have ended on June 30, 2022.

In his resignation statement, Kim said that in addition to joining a firm that will focus on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries, he will also rejoin Partners in Health, an organization he co-founded more than 30 years ago to provide medical support to poor nations.

said Kim will be succeeded Feb. 1 on an interim basis by Kristalina Georgieva, its officer and the bank's board would immediately start the process for selecting a permanent successor to Kim.

"It has been a great honor to serve as president of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime," Kim said.

Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors. The is the largest shareholder in the bank, which is headquartered in

looks forward to working with other countries on the bank's 24-member board to select Kim's successor, a Mnuchin said.

Kim, the World Bank's 12th president, faced a number of crises during his tenure, including marshalling resources to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 04:47 IST