By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The World Bank has appointed a another Vice President for the Sub-Saharan Africa Region.
The region’s portfolio was formally managed by one Vice president, a position occupied by Mr. Hafez Ghanem, an Egyptian and French national.
With the new appointees announced, in Washington, yesterday, Mr. Ousmane Diagana became the second VP with responsibility for Central and Western Africa, while Mr. Ghanem now oversees Eastern and Southern Africa affairs.
The bank said that the appointment of two VP for the was , “a sign of its strong commitment to Africa” while announcing that it would lend $50 billion to the countries on the continent, this year.
“This year the World Bank is expected to lend about $50 billion to 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – significantly more than any other Region and making up about one-third of the World Bank’s entire portfolio.
“These financing volumes are almost double what the region delivered ten years ago. The Bank’s portfolio includes projects and programs in areas such as agriculture, trade and transport, energy, education, health, water and sanitation. Furthermore, the growth in financing to fragile states has been even higher with about two-thirds of World Bank financing to fragile states happening in Africa.”
According to the bank, the creation of an additional Vice Presidency Unit is part of the its continuous efforts to align resources with priorities and that it would help drive the reforms and policies needed to achieve sustained and broad-based growth, alleviate poverty and raise living standards for people on the continent.
“Our commitment to Africa gets stronger every day, and I am thrilled to work alongside Ousmane Diagana to deliver even more resources to the people who need them the most,” said Mr. Ghanem, adding, “We are two Vice Presidents, but we see Africa as one, and will continue sharing lessons, expertise, and ideas across the continent.”
Also commenting on the development, Mr. Diagana said, “I am honoured to lead the bank’s efforts in West and Central Africa, with a strong focus on innovation, impact, and transformation.”