The African Development Bank Group appoints Dr. Jennifer Blanke as Vice-President Agriculture, Human and Social Development

07/11/2016
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The African Development Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Blanke as Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, with effect from 1st December 2016. She will join the Senior Management Team of the Bank.

Dr. Jennifer Blanke, American-Swiss, is a renowned and globally respected development economist, with over 20 years of experience. She is currently the Chief Economist and member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, where she provides global leadership on economic and development issues. She has worked for the past 14 years at the World Economic Forum, including as Senior Director, Lead Economist and Senior Program Manager. She brings deep expertise in strategy development, execution and driving for results. She is widely respected for her ability to develop effective partnerships and convene diverse group of experts to achieve results. She earlier worked as Senior Consultant for the Eurogroup Consulting (Mazars Group).

Dr. Blanke has published extensively on economic development issues and is very well positioned to effectively build strategic interrelations and public-private partnerships to deliver across the highly diverse areas of the work under the Vice Presidency on agriculture, human and social development.

Dr. Blanke brings a diverse wealth of knowledge and experience on economic, human and social development, private sector and public-private partnerships for driving inclusive growth, including infrastructure, agribusiness, skills and entrepreneurship, industrial development, water and sanitation. She is globally respected for her works on how to support countries to drive greater economic competitiveness and reduce cost of doing business and has led the development of the global competitiveness report and the Africa Competitiveness Report. She has worked extensively on Africa and is a respected advisor to several governments on economic, human and social development to reduce growth inequalities.

As Chief Economist of the World Economic Forum, she is exposed to all the key issues driving the global economy and is at the center of many of them. She was very effective in launching of the African Competitiveness Report for 2015-2016 in Kinshasa this year, which brought tremendous interests in Africa, including investing in transition and fragile situations.

Dr. Blanke is a dynamic leader, with extensive networks in the public and private sector. She has done tremendous amount of work on growth and inclusion and will be able to leverage the agriculture sector to deliver not only on growth and feeding Africa, but also on other dimensions of inclusion such as gender and youth.

She brings leverage from her work with Grow Africa – the flagship private sector driven agriculture and agribusiness initiative of the World Economic Forum – that can help upscale private sector financing into the agriculture sector, as well as investments in infrastructure, rural energy and water for agricultural processing industries. Her private sector perspective will be helpful to help drive agriculture as a business to expand markets for farmers, as well as in the design of innovative financing systems for supporting the youth and women entrepreneurs. Her in-depth knowledge and expertise in productivity and competitiveness will support the Bank as it rolls out agricultural corridors, staple crop processing zones to lower costs of doing business and raise productivity and competitiveness of agro-processing industries.

Dr. Blanke holds a Master’s (Diplôme d'etudes Approfondies) in International Economics from the Graduated Institute, Switzerland, a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, USA, and PhD in International Economics from the Graduate Institute, Switzerland. She is fluent in French, English and Spanish.

Commenting on her appointment, Dr. Blanke said, “I am delighted to be joining the African Development Bank at this critical time for Africa, with the Bank’s clear agenda for more rapid social and economic transformation of the continent. I am passionate about Africa. Getting agriculture, human and social development right will be the key for inclusive growth on the continent. I look forward to helping to leverage global and continent-wide partnerships to help the Bank achieve its goals”.

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said, “Dr. Jennifer Blanke brings extensive knowledge of Africa and solid understanding of how to drive inclusive growth. She is a doer and gets things done. Her diverse experience covers several sectors all of which are crucial to being able to effectively deliver on the agenda of the Bank on agriculture, human and social development. She brings global convening power and that is critical for building the partnerships we need to deliver on the agenda of the Bank in these areas. I am delighted Jennifer is joining our team”.