Mr Shantayanan  Devarajan (Shanta Devarajan)
Sri Lanka

Mr Shantayanan Devarajan (Shanta Devarajan)

Chief Economist, Africa Region, World Bank

Place of Birth: Sri Lanka

The effects of the global slowdown on African economies have been generally overlooked. The World Bank has responded with its advocacy of more regional integration and infrastructure development, and a proposal for the G-20 summit in London on 2 April 2009 that 0.7% of rich countries' stimulus packages should go to poorer countries. As Chief Economist for the Bank's Africa Region, Shanta Devarajan is the public face of its efforts.

A brainy econometrist, Devarajan is a busy blogger: he uses his 'AfricaCan' blog on the World Bank website to stimulate debate and publicise new research. An engaging campaigner for new thinking on development economics, he has won over several sceptical policymakers and academics. He stresses the human impact of the economic crisis rather than the effects on the big banks' balance sheets. The crisis is 'not remotely Africa's fault', and Shanta argues that African governments have the least latitude to deal with its consequences.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Shanta studied mathematics at Princeton University and earned his PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He left the faculty of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government to join the World Bank in 1991. He has been Chief Economist of the Bank's Human Development Network, which crafts strategies to improve health, education and relieve poverty.

Shanta was Chief Economist for South Asia before moving to the Africa section in January 2008. With Finland's Ritva Reinikka, he led the writing of the World Development Report 2004 and edited the World Bank Research Observer.

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Vol 52 N0 20


Good boom, bad timing

In Washington for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings on 23-25 September, he had just heard the Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, Shantayanan Devarajan, talk about the continent’s ‘robust growth’...

Vol 51 N0 9


Out of the dip

The World Bank’s Africa economist Shantayanan Devarajan put it in still starker terms: ‘An estimated seven to ten million people were driven into poverty...

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