The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Ms. Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday expressed deep sadness over the passing of Sir James David Wolfensohn, an Australian-Ametican lawyer, investment banker, and economist who served as the ninth president of the World Bank.
When Wolfensohn took over at the World Bank in 1995, he viewed himself as a spiritual successor to a former World Bank chief, Robert McNamara.
“He was a hero to me as he was to so many, and particularly the world’s most vulnerable,” Georgieva said in a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington D.C.
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She wrote: “It is with profound sadness that I learned of the passing of my dear friend, mentor, and former boss Jim Wolfensohn. He was a hero to me as he was to so many, and particularly the world’s most vulnerable.
“His lifelong commitment was, as he put it, to fight poverty with passion and professionalism—and as head of the World Bank Group–he put all his prodigious talent and energy to turn that commitment into action. His achievements are legendary, as is his legacy: from mobilizing historic debt relief for the poorest countries to fighting what he described as the ‘cancer of corruption’; from getting more girls into school to leading major efforts to combat HIV/AIDS; from promoting environmental sustainability to rallying the international community to help the victims of a devastating tsunami.
“To put it simply, Jim transformed the world of development and he transformed the World Bank. In the process, he became, quite literally, the voice for the poor people on our planet.
“On behalf of the IMF and its staff, I wish to express our deepest condolences to Jim’s family and friends. He was a brilliant financier, a generous philanthropist and, above all, a great humanitarian who always put people first. May his bright light forever show us the way.”