The US nominee for World Bank president, Ajay Banga, has tested positive for Covid-19 during routine testing in New Delhi where he was travelling on the last leg of his world tour, and is currently quarantining in isolation.
“Banga tested positive upon arrival in Delhi. He has conducted multiple tests forCovid during his tour, and tested negative before departing for India,” a US embassy spokesperson said.
Banga was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to seek support to further his chances of becoming a World Bank president. The Russians have decided to oppose Banga’s candidature. Banga may urge Modi to intercede with Vladimir Putin and persuade Russia not to thwart his chances.
India endorsed Banga’s candidacy soon after his nomination was announced.
A diverse coalition of governments has expressed their support for Banga, including Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea and the UK.
Banga’s New Delhi visit is the final stop on his three-week global tour that began in Africa before progressing to Europe, Latin America and Asia.
India logged 1,249 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases have increased to 7,927, according to the Union health ministry data on Friday.
According to the US treasury department statement, Banga was to discuss India’s development priorities, the World Bank, and global economic development challenges with the Indian leaders during his two-day visit.
If elected, Banga will draw from his experience of living and working in emerging markets and his expertise in forging public-private partnerships to mobilise investments and action to confront long-standing challenges. That includes his efforts at Mastercard to successfully bring 500 million previously unbanked people into the digital economy, as well as its support for 50 million small businesses.