Zimbabwean Callisto Madavo, named World Bank's vice president, Africa Region

By Chido Nwangwu

Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the regions of special focus for the World Bank has a Zimbabwean national as its new vice president. President James D. Wolfensohn has announced that Callisto Madavo "will have sole responsibility for the Bank's work in Africa", beginning May 1, 2000. He has been with the bank since1969.

Prior to the announcement, he shared responsibility for the 47 Sub-Saharan countries with Jean-Louis Sarbib, who will now assume responsibility for the Bank's Middle East and North Africa Region. "Having one Vice President instead of two will be a natural follow-through to the very successful efforts all of us have made since 1996 to build a strong organization serving Africa along new lines," said Madavo and Sarbib.

"Furthermore, both of us see this change as a personal opportunity to serve all of Africa-North and South-with the common experience, perspectives and values which we have developed, working on Sub-Saharan Africa."

The U.S.-educated Madavo attended the University of Notre Dame, where he received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Economics. He was appointed to his present position as co-Vice President of the Africa Region in April 1996. The new position was announced on February 7, 2000

The World Bank notes it has a staff of 1,400 in the Africa Region, its largest organizational unit and "the largest single group of specialists in the world serving the continent's development." Sixty percent of its staff (850) are African.

The Bank has done very well in promoting and backing development projects as well come under severe criticism for some programs which are said to lack proper relationship with the core needs and environment of Africa. Hopefully, Madavo will enhance the focus and outcome of the World bank in parts of sub-Saharan Africa which have suffered from the infamous "conditionalities" which has come into place in its collaborations with the International Monetary Fund.

This report first appeared on USAfricaonline.com.