Economist Andrew Bvumbe has been elected executive director of the World Bank Group representing the Africa Group One constituency, the first time a Zimbabwean has held such a post in the history of the bank.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Bvumbe was elected on Thursday at the Africa Group One Constituency meeting held on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC. His tenure runs from November 1 through October 31, 2018.
The Africa Group 1 Constituency is made up of 22 countries — Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Prior to the new post, Bvumbe was alternate to executive director Loms Rese Peter Larose from Seychelles since November 1 2014.
In a statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said government welcomed Bvumbe’s appointment, which “comes at a very critical time during Zimbabwe’s ongoing re-engagement programme with the Bretton Woods Institutions and the African Development Bank”.
Zimbabwe plans to settle its combined $1,8 billion arrears to the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank, a move which is expected to unlock fresh capital to reboot the economy.
The executive directors have a dual responsibility to represent the interest and concerns of their constituency countries to the board and the bank’s management, as well as the fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the organisation as a whole, Chinamasa said. The World Bank Group has 25 executive directors.
Bvumbe has vast experience in central banking and international financing.
He joined the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as assistant economist in 1981, rising to chief economist and then assistant director (Economic Research Policy Division).
He left the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 1999.
From 1999, Bvumbe served in various capacities as director in the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe, principal director Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, permanent secretary, executive director of the AfDB and as head of the Zimbabwe Debt Management Office, a department in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in charge of resource mobilisation, debt and risk management and settlement and disbursement.