June 2: The World Bank has appointed Faris Hadad-Zervos as its new Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka effective from July 1. Previously, he worked as bank’s Country Manager for Nepal from May 2018. “Based in the sub-regional office in Kathmandu, Nepal, he will lead World Bank support to Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, overseeing the current total portfolio of around USD 5.5 billion,” reads a press statement issued by the World Bank.
Hadad-Zervos succeeds Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, who will be taking on a new World Bank assignment. A US national, he joined the World Bank in 1996 and held country manager positions in Malaysia and Bolivia. He also served as Manager of the Technical Cooperation Program with the Gulf Cooperation Countries, Head of Mission for Iraq, and Operations Manager for the West Bank and Gaza.
According to the World Bank, Hadad-Zervos’ appointment comes at a time when governments of the three countries must quickly address both the immediate and longer-term health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It is critical to protect lives and livelihoods and support economic recovery as countries are fighting the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” the statement quoted Hadad-Zervos as saying. “My first priority is to ensure that World Bank-financed programs help alleviate the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, create jobs, and foster inclusive and sustainable growth in the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and I look forward to working with governments, development partners, the private sector, and civil society.”
According to the statement, the World Bank is supporting the governments of Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka through COVID-19 emergency response projects totaling over USD 350 million to help the countries prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic and strengthen public health preparedness.