Ms. Anna Bjerde, a Swedish national, became the new World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia on May 1, 2020. In this position, Ms. Bjerde will lead the World Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational and knowledge work in the region.
Ms. Bjerde takes leadership of the Europe and Central Asia region during an exceptionally challenging time for the Bank’s client countries. The Covid-19 pandemic has left many countries battling severe health, social and economic impacts. Amid continued uncertainty, the World Bank’s latest Europe and Central Asia Economic Update suggests various negative growth scenarios for the region, including a major recession in 2020, with growth contracting to between −4.4 and −2.8 percent.
“As Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, I will work very closely with governments in client countries to help them achieve strong development outcomes, but our immediate focus is on addressing the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bjerde said.
To date, the World Bank has committed more than $1.4 billion to help countries in Europe and Central Asia mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Since April 2, 2020, around $490 million has been approved through new emergency response projects. In addition, up to $925 million is being reallocated, used, or made available from existing projects and lending, including additional financing, to help countries with their COVID-19 response.