The Korean-American physician tapped by US President Barack Obama to lead the World Bank will embark on an 11 day global charm offensive Tuesday, the Treasury Department said.
Amid anger that the United States and Europe appear poised to stitch up leadership of the bank for at least another five years, South Korea-born Jim Yong Kim will try to win over skeptics in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Since its founding in 1944, Washington has always chosen the head of the World Bank, and has filled the position each time with an American, without opposition.
This year, for the first time two challengers are vying with the US nominee: respected economists Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia.
That means Kim, known for his work in World Health Organization campaigns against AIDS in Africa, and currently president of the prestigious US Ivy League school Dartmouth College, needs to woo international support for his candidacy.
The US authorities dubbed the trip a "listening tour," but the sheer scale of itinerary made it read like a modern reprise of the "Grand Tours" of the 1600s.
Between now and April 9 he will visit Addis Ababa, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, New Delhi, Brasilia and Mexico City -- all important players in the Bank.
"Dr. Kim will meet with heads of state, finance ministers, and other stakeholders to solicit their priorities for the World Bank over the coming years," the Treasury said in a statement.
The Bank says it wants to announce the successor for outgoing President Robert Zoellick, a former US diplomat, by its April 20-22 meeting.