New World Bank country director sets action plan

Azlan Othman

The World Bank has announced the appointment of Senegalese national Ndiamé Diop as its new Country Director for Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, effective July 1, 2020.

“Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are among the most dynamic economies in East Asia with a strong track record of economic reforms and achievements. The economic security of the middle class and the progress in poverty reduction are, however, being seriously threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Diop said.

Diop, an economist, will oversee the World Bank’s operations in the four countries and continue the institution’s policy dialogues with government counterparts, civil society, academia the private sector and other partners.

The World Bank Group (WBG) programme in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand combines cutting-edge analytics, advisory services and lending operations to support the countries’ development agendas. The World Bank team generates knowledge and provides evidence-based advice to support key reforms and share development and policy innovations with other developing countries.

“I’m very excited to take this role of Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand,” Diop said.

“I look forward to meeting our partners in government, civil society, the private sector, and development agencies to learn how the bank can help cushion health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic and set the stage for a lasting recovery,” he said.

In Brunei Darussalam, the WBG programme has included support for improving business regulations or Ease of Doing Business.

The WBG remains ready to engage and support the government in addressing its key development challenges.

The WBG runs the WBG Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub in Malaysia, partnering with the country in developing and implementing global development solutions. The hub draws on global knowledge to share policy solutions to further unlock Malaysia’s potential and shares the country’s development experience with the rest of the world. It also supports innovative research in partnership with diverse domestic partners.

The WBG’s work in the Philippines spans more than seven decades, providing longstanding support for infrastructure as well as engagement in key sectors, including agriculture, social protection, water resources, disaster risk management. The WBG also supports the government’s key economic policy and governance reforms, helps spur private sector growth and promotes peace and development in the Southern Philippines.

In Thailand, the WBG supports transformation towards greater inclusion, resilience and competitiveness. Its work focusses on promoting competition and innovation by helping Thailand improve its business environment, economic institutions and infrastructure. The bank also supports quality education and targetted programmes for inclusion of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, including in the fragile and conflict-affected areas of Southern Thailand.

Diop brings to this new position 20 years of World Bank experience, working across East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to this appointment, he was a Practice Manager for Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment for East Asia and the Pacific, providing technical and strategic guidance to the economic team working in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Diop joined the World Bank in 2000 as a young professional following the completion of his PhD in Economics the same year.