Former Vice-President of the World Bank Group for Africa, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili
In a bid to ensure good governance and sustained economic reform in Africa, the Open Society Foundations, has appointed former Vice-President of the World Bank Group for Africa, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, to lead its new Africa economic policy development initiative.
Open Society in a statement said the initiative was created to build on the strong growth performance of Africa over the last decade and the emergent urgency for structural transformation of economies to expand benefits to the poor majority through policies that boost private sector jobs and incomes.
Operating from Abuja, Ezekwesili will advise the leaders and policy makers of the countries on their economic strategy and policy reforms that can help boost investment and create job growth in the Mano River region.
“The initiative over the next three years will expand to include other countries across Africa. She will provide Economic Policy Advisory for Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Other Economies on the Continent. The new initiative will support the development of a centre for African economic policy expertise and advisory,” the organisation said.
“We heartily welcome this initiative by the Open Society Foundations and are eager to seize the opportunity to receive the valuable policy advice and support from Oby Ezekwesili,” said President Alpha Condé of Guinea, one of the three countries on which the Africa economic policy development initiative will focus initially.
“We benefited from Ezekwesili’s rich experience and policy expertise when she was at the World Bank and helped us considerably in advancing our country’s economic reforms and development priorities.
“The initiative, which will help develop leadership in public policy and economic reforms within governments, will leverage African expertise in the Diaspora to strengthen state capacities in various sectors of economies in Africa, “he added.
On his part, Chairman and founder of the Open Society Foundations, George Soros, said, “I am delighted for Oby to join our team working on Africa. My foundations have long been committed to fostering economic development in post-conflict countries and nations transitioning to democracy.”
In her role as Senior Economic Adviser, Ezekwesili will oversee the creation of a public policy advisory centre in Abuja that will collaborate with Paul Collier, the Professor of Economics who focuses on developing countries, and others to provide economic policy solutions to pro-reform governments starting with Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
She will also help establish a separate Africa-wide graduate school of public policy, based in Nigeria, that will collaborate with leading universities including the School of Public Policy at the Central European University.