• World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim has appointed Victoria Kwakwa as the new Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific.

    Kwakwa, a native of Ghana, will lead the Bank’s advisory and lending operations in the region and oversee strategic engagement with the region’s member countries. She is replacing Axel van Trotsenburg who has assumed the role of Development Finance vice president in the World Bank since March 1 this year.

    WBG President termed the appointment of Kwakwa to the role as a move that will ensure a “seamless leadership transition for this region of increasing importance to the World Bank Group”. Kim added that Kwakwa has a knowledge of the region and has been part of the banks “efforts in bringing about change at a time when East Asia Pacific has been rapidly developing and playing a pivotal global role”.

    Previously, Kwakwa was the World Bank’s country Director of Vietnam overseeing a multibillion-dollar lending portfolio and an innovative knowledge program. Additionally, it is during her tenancy that the Bank’s partnership with Vietnam deepened, responding to the increasingly complex challenges of an emerging middle-income country, a statement from the WBG said.

    Kwakwa also led a joint team with the government to produce the Vietnam 2035 report, which presents options for Vietnam to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country in a generation.

    Climbing the career ladder

    Kwakwa has a Bachelor’s Degree in economics from the University of Ghana, Legon and a master’s and doctorate from Queen’s University in Canada.

    She joined the Bank as a young professional in 1989 and worked on the 2000-2001 World Development Report on poverty.

    From 2000 to 2006 she worked as a senior economist, based in Abuja, Nigeria where she introduced and led a program of state-level analytical work and gave policy advice on how to efficiently and transparently manage oil revenues.

    From 2000 to 2006 she worked as a senior economist, based in Abuja, Nigeria where she introduced and led a program of state-level analytical work and gave policy advice on how to efficiently and transparently manage oil revenues.

    WBG’s lending in East Asia Pacific is expected to reach $7.5 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30.

    Commenting on her appointment, Kwakwa said she was privileged and that she looked forward to working with the countries to maintain their competitiveness and economic dynamism.

    “I am honored to lead our engagement in a region that is key to the future relevance of the World Bank Group. In the last decade, East Asia and Pacific’s share in the world economy has tripled, to about 19 percent,” Kwakwa said.

    “That number is projected to rise to more than 30 percent by 2030. I look forward to working with our client countries to maintain their competitiveness and economic dynamism while tackling challenges including urbanization, vulnerability to climate change, rapid ageing and rising inequality. I am confident that the region will continue to find innovative solutions that will resonate around the world,” she added.


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