, WASHINGTON, Jan 18 – One time World Bank country director for Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia Makhtar Diop has been appointed the bank’s new vice president for Africa
The Senegalese national takes over from Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili who will be returning to Nigeria in early May after serving as the region’s vice president since 2007.
“Diop, currently the World Bank’s country director for Brazil since 2009, will take up his new position on May 6,” a statement from the bank says.
A former finance minister in Senegal and chair of the West African Monetary Union Board of Finance Ministers, Diop joined the World Bank in 2001 and has served in various senior positions as the World Bank’s country director for Kenya, Eritrea, and Somalia, as well as director of strategy and operations in the bank’s Latin America and Caribbean region.
He will be tasked with the responsibility of implementing the ‘Africa Strategy’ which is an ambitious program that has been developed by the bank to assist the continent’s economies to take off, just like those of Asia did 30 years ago.
Making the announcement, World Bank group president Robert B. Zoellick praised Ezekwesili for “five years of important and successful service to the Bank and to Africa.”
“Under Oby’s leadership, our Africa team employed innovation, knowledge, partnership and financial services to strengthen results across Africa and to improve the prospects for Africa’s economic performance,” he said.
‘Oby’ as she is popularly known has been instrumental in mobilising private sector engagement and better connecting Africa’s development to that of other regions, particularly through South-South partnerships, her boss said.
“Her close attention to the needs of our clients, engagement with African leadership and with regional institutions, as well as with the UN and other partners, has helped us to leverage our effectiveness across Africa,” Zoellick added.
She has been a relentless campaigner for transparency and against corruption; had strongly supported the need for greater social accountability and civil society engagement; and had promoted innovative approaches to regional integration.
“We wish Oby all the best in her future endeavours working with civil society, in which she will help to strengthen public sector capacity, and work especially with young people and women. I am especially appreciative of her committed and devoted service, including the years spent away from her family,” Zoellick concluded.