Makthar Diop, the World Bank’s vice president for infrastructure, has been appointed to head the International Finance Corporation (IFC), becoming the first African to lead the Washington based lender’s arm for the private sector.

Diop will take over at the IFC at the beginning of March, World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement on Thursday.

Diop will help the World Bank to “continue our rapid response to the global crisis and help build a green, resilient, inclusive recovery,” Malpass said.

The World Bank expects to deploy as much as $160 billion in grants and financial support over 15 months through June to help countries across the world deal with the economic, health and social effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While accepting the appointment, Diop said that it is time to boost inclusive growth and promote sustainable investments for the benefit of all.

His key responsibilities will be to deepen and energize IFC’s 3.0 strategy of proactively creating markets and mobilizing private capital at a significant scale; deliver on the IFC capital package policy commitments including increased climate and gender investments and support for FCV countries facing fragility, conflict, and violence.

Makhtar Sop Diop, born in June 1960 in Dakar, is a Senegalese economist and politician.

He served as Minister of Finance and Economy in the second government of Moustapha Niasse, under President Abdoulaye Wade.

After leaving public service, Diop served for six years as World Bank’s vice president for Africa, where he oversaw a major expansion of the lender’s work and a record $70 billion in commitments. He has also previously worked as a country director for Brazil, Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia.

Philippe Le Houerou, the previous head of the IFC, left at the end of September.

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