Oby Ezekwesili leaves World Bank in May – See The Official Release

Former Minister for Solid Minerals and then Education, noted mentor to several young leaders, and the driver for the viral phrase “The Turning Point Generation” has confirmed her decision to leave her position as Vice President of the World Bank for Africa to lead civil society engagements at home.

It takes effect in May. Below is an official release from the office of the World Bank President:

Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, Vice President for Africa, after five years of important and successful service to the Bank and to Africa, will return to Nigeria in early May.

Oby joined the Bank in 2007. Last year, I asked her to extend another year, delaying her return home, to begin implementation of the new strategy, “Africa’s Future and World Bank support to It,“ that she did so much to develop.

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 — such as the African Union, EAC and ECOWAS — as well as with the UN and other partners, has helped us to leverage our effectiveness across Africa.  Oby has done excellent work mobilizing private sector engagement and better connecting Africa’s development to that of other regions, particularly through South-South partnerships.

Oby has built a strong team across the range of the Bank’s work: infrastructure and human development; agricultural production and productivity; private sector development; economic reforms to overcome poverty; and governance and accountability. Reflecting her experience and background, Oby has been a relentless campaigner for transparency and against corruption.   She has also led in the use of ICT for Development; in supporting social accountability mechanisms through civil society engagement; and in promoting innovative approaches to regional integration. The new Bank strategy for Africa and its implementation plan, both developed under Oby’s leadership, offer a strong legacy.  I also appreciate Oby’s close work with IFC and MIGA, underscoring the interconnectivity across the World Bank Group to achieve better and more far-reaching impact.

Please join me and the Senior Management Team in wishing Oby all the best in her future endeavors 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.

I have asked Makhtar Diop, a Senegalese national, to be Oby’s successor as Vice President for Africa. Makhtar is well known and respected for his work in various posts at the Bank. As Country Director for Brazil since 2009, Makhtar has overseen the Bank’s largest portfolio.  He has adroitly strengthened our relationship with a key partner; pursued innovative work with Brazil’s states and large cities, including the first DPL to a municipality – Rio de Janeiro; and deepened South-South partnerships.  Makhtar has also led a strong analytical and knowledge program.

Since he joined the Bank in 2001, Makhtar has worked in a variety of positions including as Country Director for Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia in the Africa Region; Director of Finance, Private Sector and Infrastructure in the Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidency (LAC); and Director of Strategy and Operations in LAC. Prior to joining the World Bank, Makhtar worked as an Economist at the IMF, and served from 2000 to 2001 as Minister of Finance in Senegal and Chair of the West African Monetary Union (WAEMU) Board of Finance Ministers. In that position, he launched the first Sovereign Credit rating in SSA (outside South Africa) and played an important role in the initial steps of the NEPAD Initiative. As Minister of Finance, Makhtar implemented an extensive reform of the customs administration with significant results on transparency and efficiency.  He brings strong client and operational skills, a track record of innovation and a good understanding of the African continent.   I am delighted that he is taking up this key position.

To ensure a smooth transition, Makhtar will start working with Oby during the month of April. He will assume the post on May 5. We will announce Makhtar’s successor as Country Director in Brazil in due course.

Bob  Zoellick

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