Washington: The World Bank will meet to decide which of three candidates will be its 12th president, after a historic campaign that saw the first serious challenge to US leadership of the institution.

According to a source close the decision making process, the World Bank's board will convene on Monday to choose between American nominee Jim Yong Kim and two candidates who embody developing countries' demands to have a bigger say in global governance.

Though Kim remains the odds-on favorite to win, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Colombian Jose Antonio Ocampo have transformed what is normally a US coronation into a fully-fledged battle of succession.

Thanks to a tacit agreement, the US, the Bank's biggest stakeholder, has always chosen its leader, with support from Europe, which in turn nominates the head of the International Monetary Fund.

Widely respected Nigerian finance minister Okonjo-Iweala and Colombian former finance minister Ocampo, have given voice to demands from Africa, Asia and Latin America, that the arrangement must end.

Forced onto the back foot, President Barack Obama and his administration have pushed back hard for Kim's nomination.

The Korea-born, US-raised physician has gone on a global charm offensive.

In an interview statement to the board of directors yesterday, Kim vowed to bring a listening ear and objectivity to the post.

As head of the World Bank, the president plays a crucial running an organization that doled out USD57.3 billion last year and has more than 9,000 employees worldwide.

(Agencies)