Senegalese born Makhtar Diop, has replaced Nigeria’s Obiageli Ezekwesili as the new World Bank Vice-President for Africa. Diop is the first Francophone to hold the World Bank Africa Vice Presidency.
With more than 25 years of development experience; Diop before joining the World Bank team in 2001 worked for the International Monetary Fund and served as Minister of Finance of Senegal, and as Chair of the West African Monetary Union (WAEMU) Board of Finance Ministers.
While working at the World Bank, Diop held various senior positions, including Country Director for Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia, as well as Director of Infrastructure and Director of Strategy and Operations in the Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean region.
In 2009, he became the Country Director for Brazil where he managed the World Bank’s largest country program of lending to member state, which average $3billion per year.
He was formerly the Minister of Finance for his country in 2001 under the cabinet of Moustapha Niasse, Wade’s first Prime Minister. Although he did not stay long on the post for not being “enough of a politician”, Diop is credited with low key reforms in new information technology at the treasury and the restructuring of the customs directorate, which assisted the fledgling administration boost revenue dramatically, despite lower tariffs on trade with fellow members of the Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine (UEMOA). Diop is also credited with the launch Standard & Poor’s sovereign credit rating of Senegal.
Diop had his Finance degree at the École Supérieure Libre des Sciences Commerciales Appliquées in Paris, his Master’s from the University of Warwick and another Master’s Degree in philosophy from the University of Nottingham in Britain.
On his new appointment, Diop said, “It is an honor to return to the Africa region as Vice-President at a time when the continent is on the rise, with strong growth led by private investment, and a new sense of optimism.”
“With world-class development knowledge and innovative financing, we can help support Africa’s momentum and ensure that all Africans, especially the poor, share in the continent’s economic and social transformation,” the Dakar born economist and financial expert added.
Commending the out-going World Bank Vice President for Africa, World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said “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. 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.”
Ezekwesili assumed the Vice Presidency position in 2007.
The World Bank is a partner of 48 countries in Sub Saharan Africa and finances approximately 500 projects in the region. The Banks’ portfolio includes projects and programs in areas such as agriculture, trade and transport, energy, education, health, water and sanitation.