March 6, 2023

To whom it may concern,

I am writing today in my capacity as President and CEO of Accion, a global nonprofit on a mission to create a fair and inclusive economy, to express our support for the nomination of Ajay Banga as the next President of the World Bank.

I have known Ajay for more than 20 years. Our paths first crossed when we were both senior executives at Citigroup. Together, we served on the board of the Citi Foundation, where upon joining the board, he spoke passionately of his belief that our $100M of annual giving should focus firmly on women’s financial empowerment to help end global poverty. Ajay influenced the way we deployed our resources for greater impact. Over the years, I have had many in-depth conversations – both privately and in front of audiences – and I know of no other global CEO who can speak with such knowledge and passion for financial inclusion. And he’s matched this commitment by directing resources to support this work throughout his career.

Ajay is a firm believer in shared solutions to global problems. He recently co-founded the Partnership for Central America, of which Accion is a member. The organization is already delivering tangible solutions to tackle climate change and other drivers that are forcing vulnerable communities to migrate, leveraging a substantial network of private sector and nonprofit partnerships.

At Mastercard, he set up the Center for Inclusive Growth, leveraging the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise, and technology, and establishing the Mastercard Impact Fund to advance equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center’s programs help power small businesses around the world, increasing the financial security and economic mobility of millions of people globally.

With global poverty on the rise for the first time in decades, the World Bank needs a leader who will be a champion for shared prosperity and a driver of change within the organization. Ajay has consistently shown that he has a vision for transformative change. He also has the skills and expertise to make that vision reality. In my several years leading Human Resources at Citi, I did not see a better manager. He excels when helping institutions transform, and as the World Bank resets itself to lead on the climate crisis and other global challenges, it will be well-served with Ajay Banga as its President.

Throughout his career, Ajay has shown that the entities he leads can serve as a force for good – catalyzing action across the private sector, governments, international institutions, and civil society. I believe he has what it takes to deliver lasting change at the World Bank, and look forward to him being selected as its next President.

Respectfully,

Michael Schlein

President and CEO

Accion

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