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World Bank appoints new country director overseeing Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei

THE World Bank said it has appointed Turkish economist Zafer Mustafaoglu as its new country director for the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam, with his term beginning July 1.

He replaced Ndiamé Diop, who served as the country director for the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Thailand for four years.

“I am deeply honored to assume the role of country director for the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei — countries that stand out as some of the most vibrant economies in the East Asia region, with significant achievements in economic transformation and poverty alleviation,” Mr. Mustafaoglu was quoted as saying in a statement.

“I look forward to meeting our partners across government, the private sector, civil society, and academic institutions to deepen my understanding of the unique development challenges these countries face and to explore how the World Bank can further contribute to their progress,” he added.

The bank has extended support in the form of loans and technical assistance in key sectors like infrastructure, agriculture, the environment, social protection, water resources, disaster risk management, and climate change.

Other forms of help include support for the government’s major economic policy and governance reforms, enhancement of private sector participation, and the promotion of peace in Mindanao.

The World Bank was the Philippines’ third biggest source of official development assistance in 2022, according to the National Economic and Development Authority. Around $6.86 billion worth of loans it provided were spent on 29 programs and projects.

Mr. Mustafaoglu joined the World Bank in 2005 and has contributed to the lender’s operations and research projects, ranging from macroeconomic to microeconomic policy issues. 

He previously served as the practice manager for Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation in the East Asia and Pacific, overseeing operations in China, Mongolia, South Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

He also occupied the same position in Latin America and the Caribbean, and was the lead economist and program leader for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Before joining the bank, Mr. Mustafaoglu worked for the Turkish government’s State Planning Organization as the head of the Modeling and Economic Analysis.

The new country director earned his doctorate in International Economics from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz