What is your role within the World Bank? How does your department contribute to reducing poverty in the world?
Ever since early 2017 I am a Financial Management Specialist within the Governance Global Practice (GGP). GGP constitutes one of 14 operational branches (Global Practices or GPs) of the World Bank. It’s development interventions result in stronger, more efficient and accountable institutions leading to enhanced service delivery. As such I am involved in designing and operating Governance projects (lending, Technical Assistance) to a range of African countries. Through a well-functioning public sector, with capable civil servants and sound and accountable public finances, client countries can better provide public services and consequently improve citizens’ socio-economic outcomes.
What is it like to work for the World Bank?
It truly is one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse workspaces in the world. Diversity is so engrained in the fabric of the WB, that it is rare to find duplicates amongst the nationalities of your co-workers. Yet it is not merely a wonderful hodgepodge of languages and countries, it’s the variety of disciplines and ideas that make for interesting exchanges. Besides, it is impressive to observe how people have taken on the daunting task of operationalizing the twin goals of ‘Boosting Shared Prosperity’ and ‘Ending Poverty’, especially in the face of significant population growth in developing countries and a surge in protectionism in advanced economies. Final redeeming features are the numerous workshops and fascinating research projects on display; with the Annual and Spring Meetings as the absolute pinnacle.
Which mission is most important to you? And why?
Nigeria, Kaduna State, was the most important mission for me. Considering it was my first mission, I had little notion of what a WB mission entailed or what to expect. Yet high-levelness of the mission, the advantage of finally having an ear to the ground (vis-à-vis the Headquarter’s comfort zone), and the manifested skills of my co-workers, made a lasting impact. Most memorable was a smaller mission trip, up and down from capital Abuja to state province Kaduna. The day was replete with security protocols: being escorted by a police vehicle and being obliged to be back in Abuja before nightfall -. Yet waking up at 05.00 was worth it, since we got to engage with the Kaduna state administration – demonstrating strong capacity and fervent willingness to push their development agenda forward -.
How do your colleagues look at the Netherlands and Dutch organizations?
The Dutch are well known for some of their ‘top sectors’, primarily Water and Agriculture. As such you will find a large amount of Dutch working in those practices. Also, they speak their languages and have rather diligent work ethics; so overall a rather positive image emerges of the Dutch work force.
How can Dutch companies make themselves more visible at the World Bank?
Make sure who to deal with. In fact, it’s really only the International Financial Corporation that engages with the private sector, raises funds and leverages private capital to multiply their development impact. Additionally, the Multilateral Investment Agency can assist foreign investors (FDI) with project guarantees and hedging of various risks that arise when companies conduct business in Lower or Middle Income countries.