Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole has been appointed to the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Expert Advisory Council on Citizen Engagement.
The WBG established the Expert Advisory Council in 2014 to guide the development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in the bank’s operations. The Strategic Framework is designed to give citizens a stake in decision making in order to improve the intermediate and final development outcomes of their partnerships with government.
Cole, who is one of the first two Nigerians ever appointed to the council remarked: “This platform will help articulate and address the real concerns of the private citizenry across the globe on a size and scale only the World Bank can provide.”
He continued: “The World Bank is a results driven institution. I am delighted at the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the council on robust agenda setting and implementation of initiatives that are so crucial to global sustainable development.”
Cole is one of the two designated private sector specialists on the council, which is composed of 2 representatives each from civil society, academia, the private sector, governments, foundations and development partner/donor organizations. Other new members joining the Council are Flavia Milano (Inter-American Development Bank), Helena Bjunemalm (Swedish International Development Agency), Emily Martinez (Open Society Foundations) and fellow Nigerian Muhammed Sanu Abdullahi (Government of the State of Kaduna).
He concluded: “My work with global agencies and institutions on sustainable development has only reinforced the importance of private and public sector collaboration. My colleagues and I believe that continued cross-sectorial and multi-stakeholder engagement can transform the landscape on sustainability and social development for the next generation. I am feeling very positive as we collectively embark on this new chapter.”
Commenting on Cole’s appointment, World Bank official Jeff Thindwa, Manager of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability and who oversees the Council nomination and selection process, expressed delight at Cole’s addition to the Council, saying, “Mr. Cole will bring a unique private sector perspective to the Council. Combined with his longstanding experience serving global development institutions in various capacities, this positions Mr. Cole to make an impactful contribution to the work of the Council.”
Speaking on the appointment, Bethel Obioma, Head, Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, said it offers yet another platform for Cole, a foremost African entrepreneur and sustainable development advocate, to share his passion for “giving wings to aspirations”.
Cole currently serves on the Board of the United Nations Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) on Sustainable Development Goals and also Chairs the Nigerian Private Sector Advisory Group. In August 2017, he was appointed to the Steering Committee of PACI (Partnering Against Corruption Initiative) an anti-corruption platform of the World Economic Forum (WEF).