Ms Kwakwa was appointed World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific in April 2016. In this capacity she leads the World Bank’s engagement in the 23-member countries in the region focusing on private sector led growth, human capital development and inclusion, and sustainable and resilient development. She oversees a development project portfolio of about $33.4 billion, including $24.1 billion in infrastructure, and a strong programme of analytic work and policy advice on a broad range of development policy issues. Since taking on this position, she has championed strategic priorities in childhood nutrition and stunting, and climate adaptation and mitigation including support to countries in East Asia to transition to cleaner energy paths.
Prior to her appointment as Regional Vice President, Ms Kwakwa was World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. During her tenure she worked closely with Government to provide policy advice and financial support to shore up growth and build macroeconomic resilience in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis. She also spearheaded a stepped-up engagement between the World Bank and Vietnam’s provinces who have responsibility for several areas of service delivery and account for a significant share of public expenditures. In 2016, Ms Kwakwa and her team worked with the Government of Vietnam to prepare The Vietnam 2035 report “Towards Prosperity, Creativity, Equity and Democracy”. A joint undertaking by experts from Vietnam and the World Bank, the report evaluates Vietnam’s possibilities and options for achieving its aspirations of modernity, industrialization and a higher quality of life.
Ms Kwakwa’s areas of expertise include economic competitiveness and diversification, fiscal management, notably in natural resource rich economies and fiscal decentralisation. She has worked closely with and advised Governments in a range of countries as diverse as Nigeria, Vietnam and Rwanda. She was a member of the Core Team that prepared the World Bank’s World Development Report 2000/2001, “Attacking Poverty”.
Ms Kwakwa joined the World Bank as a Young Professional and holds a combined BA degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Ghana, Legon, and M.A and PhD degrees in Economics with specialisation in International Trade and Finance and Monetary Theory from Queens University, Kingston, Canada.