The World Bank has named Senegalese national Makhtar Diop as the new managing director of its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation effective March 1.

He becomes the first African to head the institution.

Mr Diop, a former Minister of Economy and Finance in the West African country, is currently serving as World Bank’s vice president for infrastructure, overseeing the lender’s work across energy, transport, and digital development sectors.

“Diop has deep development and finance experience and a career of energetic leadership and service to developing countries in both public and private sectors,” World Bank President David Malpass said on Thursday.

Mr Malpass said in his new role, Mr Diop will help attract investment to fight climate change and gender inequality.

“Makhtar’s skills at IFC will help the World Bank Group continue our rapid response to the global crisis and help build a green, resilient, inclusive recovery,” he said.

“We need business climates and thriving businesses that attract investment, create jobs and foster the scaling up of low carbon electricity and transportation, clean water, infrastructure, digital services, and the wide range of development success that are key to our mission of poverty reduction and shared prosperity.”

Mr Diop has also served as World Bank’s vice president for Africa for six years, where he oversaw the delivery of a record-breaking $70 billion in commitments.

He has also had stints as the global lender’s country director for Kenya, Eritrea, Somalia and Brazil and as the World Bank Director for Finance, Private Sector & Infrastructure in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Mr Diop also worked as an economist in the International Monetary Fund.

He holds advanced degrees in economics and finance.

Mr Diop replaces French economist Philippe Le Houerou, who stepped down in September 2020 after more than four years at the helm.