Economic Clout Rising, China Takes No. 3 Seat on World Bank

Article excerpt

The World Bank agreed Sunday to boost China's voting share to 4.42 percent, giving it the third biggest say after the United States and Japan.

China has earned a new degree of recognition for its growing influence on the global economy, after members of the World Bank decided Sunday to increase Beijing's voting power behind only the United States and Japan in the international lending body.

The boost underscored a broader decision at the bank's meeting to raise the share of votes held by developing countries to just over 47 percent, as part of ongoing reforms to give poorer countries a greater say in setting World Bank lending policy.

"It will enhance the role that developing countries can play in World Bank affairs and also help the bank play a greater role in helping developing countries improve economic development and reduce poverty," Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren said in a statement.

The World Bank, started after World War II, lends money to low- to middle-income nations at low interest rates to spur development and fight poverty.

A bigger role

China's voice has resonated with growing volume in international economic bodies as its economy is now the second largest (by gross domestic output) in the world, behind the US. The international financial and economic crisis amplified that voice, especially since the G20, where China is a leading member, has become more influential in setting global policy than the G8 of developed capitalist countries.

At the personal level too, China has become more visible. Since 2008 the World Bank's chief economist, a key figure, has been Justin Yifu Lin, a distinguished Chinese economist. …