Home/ News / India/  World Bank President nominee Ajay Banga's India meetings cancelled after testing positive for Covid

World Bank presidential nominee Ajay Banga tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine testing in New Delhi following which his scheduled meetings have been cancelled. 

According to a Finance Ministry's statement, Banga's meeting with Nirmala Sitharaman would not happen as he is in quarantine.

Banga was travelling on the last leg of his world tour, and is currently quarantining in isolation, the Department of Treasury had said on Thursday.

Banga's New Delhi visit on 23-24 March is the final stop on his three-week global tour that began in Africa before progressing to Europe, Latin America and Asia.

As per the Tresury's previous statement, the 63-year-old Banga was also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. 

India currently witnessing a spike in influenza and coronavirus cases since the past two weeks. The country has recorded 1,134 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases increased to 7,026, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.

India endorsed Banga’s candidacy soon after his nomination was announced. Since then, 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 United Kingdom.

During his global listening tour, Banga met with senior government officials, stakeholders, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society.

Along the way, he has built continuous momentum for his candidacy, gaining the support of advocates, academics, development experts, executives, Nobel Laureates, and former government officials.

Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, leading the company through a strategic, technological and cultural transformation. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2016.

Banga's nomination was hailed as an ‘inspired choice’.

President Joe Biden announced that the US is nominating Banga to lead the World Bank, saying the business leader is uniquely equipped to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history."

Further US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga has the right leadership and management skills, experience in emerging markets, and financial expertise to lead the World Bank at a critical moment in its history

If elected to serve, Banga will draw from his experience living and working in emerging markets and his expertise in forging public-private partnerships to mobilise investments and action to confront longstanding 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.

New Delhi logged 84 coronavirus cases with a positivity rate of 5.08 per cent on Wednesday, according to data shared by the health department.

The city has seen an increase in the number of fresh Covid infections over the last few days, amid a sharp rise in H3N2 influenza cases in the country.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 24 Mar 2023, 01:57 PM IST
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