The World Bank Group has named Mr. Henry Kerali as the new Country Director for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana.
Mr. Kerali, whose appointment took effect on July 1, 2015, said he is expected to manage the Liberia office and lead support staff and the country management team to Sierra Leone and Ghana by working closely with internal and external partners to enhance results, as well as contribute to regional and corporate initiatives.
According to a release issued by its Monrovia office, “his top three priorities will be to work closely with the three partner countries to provide innovative products and services that respond to their diverse development challenges and contribute to achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, with a specific emphasis on post-Ebola recovery.”
Mr. Kerali, is a Ugandan national who joined the World Bank in 2003 in the Infrastructure & Energy Department in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region. Before joining the Bank, he was a Professor at the University of Birmingham, England, specializing in the development of transport infrastructure.
He led the research of developed economic cost-benefit models for assessing the feasibility of infrastructure investments.
The new Country Director holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Engineering from Makerere University, and an MSc and PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK.
Prior to taking up this new appointment, Mr. Kerali was the World Bank’s Regional Director for the South Caucasus, based in Georgia.
He has previously worked in different regions of the world, including Latin America, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and ECA, and has also served as sector manager of the Bank’s transport programme in the ECA Region.
He is married with three adult children. As a professor, he has authored over 100 publications in various books, journals and reports.
For leisure, he enjoys playing golf, cycling and Latin dance.
Mr. Kerali comes at a time when the three countries are all faced with serious economic challenges that are crippling their economies.
For instance in Ghana, the country is faced with major fiscal challenges that have sent the country almost on its knees but for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which had to come in at the last hour to help salvage the situation.
Presently, the people in Ghana are facing a depreciating currency, energy crisis, and the worst in many decades, high cost of living, high interest rates and high inflation, among other things.
These challenges have forced many businesses to either lay off workers to enable them to break even or have had to fold up.
Although there are assurances from the Ghanaian Finance Minister of brighter times in the short to medium term, many including business associations, are skeptical.
In Liberia and Sierra Leone, the dreaded Ebola disease has ravaged the two countries and brought business activities and agriculture almost to a standstill.
The gains made in the past have all been eroded, leaving the war ravaged countries with very little to survive on.
As a result, the citizens of all the three countries will be looking forward to positive and pragmatic initiatives from Mr Kerali to get the bank to be more supportive of their development agenda.