New World Bank president pledges support for poor

By the Associated Press | July 3, 2012 | 12:12 PM EDT

Dr. Jim Yong Kim arrives for his first day as president of the World Bank Group, Monday, July 2, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci

WASHINGTON (AP) — Korean-American Jim Yong Kim has begun his new job as president of the World Bank, promising to immediately focus on helping poor countries navigate a fragile global economy.

Kim tells reporters the 187-nation development agency is in a strong financial position to help poor countries respond to slowing growth and uncertainty from the debt crisis in Europe.

Kim was a surprise nominee of President Barack Obama. He succeeds Robert Zoellick (ZEHL'-ick).

Developing nations waged an unsuccessful challenge to Kim, a physician and pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world.

Kim says he was, quote, "very proud to be part of the first contested election in the history of the bank," and says he'll be discussing with the board issues raised by developing countries about the institution's structure.