New Delhi, September 20, 2016: Junaid Ahmad has taken over as the World Bank’s new Country Director for India, replacing Onno Ruhl who completed his four-year term. Ahmad, a Bangladeshi national, was formerly the Chief of Staff to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
In making the appointment, Kim said, “I’m very pleased to announce Junaid Ahmad as World Bank’s new Country Director for India. India’s recent growth and development has been one of the most significant achievements of our time. With historic changes unfolding and new opportunities emerging, Junaid will bring to this key position strategic leadership along with considerable experience of working in both India and South Asia to support this transformation.”
Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice-President for South Asia added: “Junaid’s strong experience in the critical areas of water, urbanization, and social development will ensure that the Bank’s future strategy for India is formulated and implemented in line with the country’s own development goals.”
An economist by training, Ahmad brings with him broad development experience. After joining the World Bank in 1991 as a Young Professional, he worked on infrastructure development in Africa and Eastern Europe. He has since held several management positions, leading the Bank’s program in diverse regions including Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in India and South Asia.
Based in New Delhi between 2000 and 2005, Ahmad played a leading role across a number of sectors, both in India and the region. He led the Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program for South Asia before being appointed to head its social development portfolio. Following this, he steered the Bank’s broader urban development program in India and South Asia. During this period Ahmad worked in the areas of infrastructure finance, dealing with the challenges of urbanization and city management, delivering services in federal systems, as well as on issues concerning local government reforms.
Prior to joining the President’s office, Ahmad was a Senior Director at the World Bank, where he led the Bank’s global engagement in the water sector. He was one of the first to be selected to this post through a global competition. Ahmad moved to this position after holding charge of sustainable development for the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, where his work covered a broad array of sectors, ranging from agriculture, to the environment, to infrastructure.
Ahmad holds a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford University, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, and a BA in Economics from Brown University.
India is the World Bank Group’s largest client. The Bank’s India portfolio includes lending of $2.8 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and $1.0 billion from the International Development Association (IDA). As of June 2016, the Bank’s net commitments to the country stood at $27 billion (IBRD $16 billion, IDA $11 billion) across 95 projects.