ISLAMABAD: Najy Benhassine is the World Bank’s new Country Director for Pakistan effective August 1. He succeeds Illango Patchamuthu, who completed his term on July 31.
Benhassine most recently served as Regional Director, MENA, World Bank (Macro-fiscal, Trade, Finance, Competitiveness, Poverty and Governance practices).
Prior to this, he was Director for the Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice. Since joining the World Bank in 2001, he has worked extensively on economic development, finance, private sector development and impact evaluations.
His appointment comes at a time when the government of Pakistan is confronting both the immediate and longer-term health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. “It is critical that we help protect the lives and livelihoods of the people of Pakistan and support economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Benhassine said, adding “My first priority is to ensure that World Bank support helps to not only alleviate the immediate health and economic impacts of the crisis but at the same time support the Government’s ambitious social and economic reform program to promote a more resilient and inclusive economy so that Pakistan can build back better.”
The World Bank portfolio in Pakistan includes 56 active projects amounting to approximately $11 billion. The portfolio supports reforms and investments to strengthen institutions, particularly in fiscal management and human development; multi-sectoral initiatives in children’s nutrition, education and skills, irrigated agriculture, tourism, disaster risk management, and urban development; and clean energy, and social and financial inclusion.
The World Bank is supporting the government of Pakistan through COVID-19 emergency response projects totalling almost half a billion to help the country prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic and strengthen public health preparedness.
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response.
World Bank supports public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and aids the private sector to continue to operate and sustain jobs. As per the World Bank sources, they will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new International Development Resources (IDA) resources through grants and highly concessional loans.