VICTORIA KWAKWA – Named on Forbes Afrique 50 Most Influential Women in Africa list.
VICTORIA KWAKWA – World Bank Vice President, Eastern and Southern Africa named on Forbes Afrique 50 Most Influential Women in Africa list.
Forbes Afrique has recognized Victoria Kwakwa among the 2023 50 Most Influential Women in Africa, according to a recent publication. The list honours women who contribute their expertise and leadership to the growth of their organizations, serve as inspirations for young women, and possess economic or financial, political, and cultural clout to influence decisions across the continent and their respective countries.
Victoria is the Regional Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. An economist and development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Kwakwa leads the Bank’s engagement with 26 countries. She oversees an active portfolio of 313 operations totaling $58 billion and an extensive program of cutting-edge analytic work, technical assistance, and policy advice.
At the core of Ms. Kwakwa’s vision is a stable, integrated and resilient region with dynamic economies and prosperous societies in which all citizens, notably women, children and youth enjoy equality of opportunity.
Under her leadership, the World Bank is providing vital support to countries as they face a series of complex, multifaceted challenges including the COVID-19 crisis, climate shocks, food- and energy-fueled inflation and rising debt levels. Her priorities include promoting private sector jobs and economic transformation, building human capital, strengthening climate resilience, agricultural productivity and food security, and improving access to critical infrastructure. Reducing the drivers of fragility and conflict, promoting gender equality and regional integration cut across all these areas of work.
Prior to her appointment on July 1, 2022, Dr. Kwakwa served as the Vice President for Corporate Strategic Initiatives, working closely with the World Bank Managing Director of Operations and other operational and corporate units on select high priority initiatives to enhance the World Bank’s operational delivery and impact. She also served as the Vice President for East Asia Pacific from April 2016 to August 2021, where she led the Bank’s engagement with 23 diverse clients ranging from countries on the cusp of high income, established middle income, to lower middle-income countries.
In addition to her work in the East Asia and Pacific region, Dr. Kwakwa has extensive work experience in Africa including in Nigeria where she led the Bank’s economic work between 2001 and 2006. She was also Country Manager for Rwanda from 2007 to 2009.
Dr. Kwakwa brings to this role a deep knowledge of Bank Group operations, and strong experience working on issues related to debt and macroeconomic resilience, reforms for economic competitiveness and growth, and fiscal decentralization. She has a track record of putting people at the center of her work, listening to beneficiaries and striving for good outcomes for her clients and their citizens.
Her work has spanned a wide range of development issues including rural development, infrastructure services provision and financing, climate resilience and mitigation, developing human capital, and leveraging the potential of urbanization for development. She has built enduring partnerships with private sector, civil society and other international actors and has demonstrated her ability to mobilize these diverse stakeholders behind shared interests.
Dr. Kwakwa began her career at the World Bank as a Young Professional. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics from the University of Ghana, and a master’s degree and PhD in economics from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada.