President Barack Obama on Friday announced Jim Yong Kim, Korean-born president of Dartmouth College, as his nominee for the post of World Bank president.
"It's time for a development professional to lead the world's leading development body," said Obama, flanked by Kim, and secretaries Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner.
Kim is a physician and co-founder of Partners in Health (PIH) and a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO).
Though a surprise pick, Kim is most likely to get the job by an unwritten tradition that gives the US the choice to name the World Bank president while Europe gets the IMF top post.
But it seems Kim has a contest on his hands. Three African nations South Africa, Angola and Nigeria also announced their candidate on Friday: Nigeria's finance minister Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala. South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan said they will seek the support of BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India and China -- at its coming summit in New Delhi.
India has not yet announced or indicated who it will support.
But it has called for more transparency in the selection of the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, and wants a larger role for emerging nations such as itself.
The other candidate in the fray is US development economist Jeffrey Sachs. His candidacy is backed by smaller countries, such as Bhutan, East Timor, Haiti, Kenya, Guatemala and Chile.
The World Bank top job fell vacant after its current president Robert Zoellick of the US announced earlier in the year he was stepping down.
In its search for his successor the White House was rumoured to have considered Hillary Clinton, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Indra Nooyi.
Reports on Friday suggested Kim was in fact brought into consideration by Hillary Clinton and was backed by Geithner, the two persons said to have been in the fry.