‘Focus on Covid, climate finance to help South Asia’s economic recovery’

IFC, the private sector funding arm of World Bank, has appointed Hector Gomez Ang as Regional Director for South Asia.

Based in New Delhi, Ang will play a critical role in boosting IFC’s investments in the region, as it looks to recover from the severe impact of Covid-19.

In taking on the new role, Gomez Ang said the private sector had an essential role in South Asia’s recovery from Covid-19, easing the burden on constrained public finances and reducing rising levels of poverty, due to the pandemic.

“The pandemic has left a scar on countries throughout the region, exacting a huge human toll of which we must remain mindful. We must also accept that we may have to live with the lingering impacts of Covid-19 for some time to come, and so it’s all the more imperative to continue to work together to support jobs and economic growth,” Gomez Ang said.

“That also means we must do what’s needed to ensure private sector investments can flow to where it’s needed, and in industries we know can support economic activity.”

IFC’s focus in South Asia will continue to center on providing liquidity to private sector companies in the region so they can maintain operations, preserve and create jobs. IFC will also look to further support the region’s most vulnerable people by helping deliver more funding for hard hit micro, small and medium sized enterprises as well as promoting green growth through investments in sustainable infrastructure, such as renewable energy and digital connectivity, to foster a greener, more resilient, and inclusive recovery from Covid-19.

“Given the significant shortfall of finances due to Covid and increasing climate emergency, we are using Covid and climate as cross-cutting entry points to find innovative solutions to the clear development challenges in the region,” said Gomez Ang.

“We stand with the people and governments of South Asia as we continue to invest in the region’s private sector despite market uncertainties. We hope this will send a strong signal to other investors and give them confidence to continue to invest in the region.”

Gomez Ang said IFC’s work to ramp up its investments in climate-related projects was in line with the World Bank Group’s new Climate Change Action Plan, and IFC’s aims to aim to achieve 85 per cent of its new operations to be aligned with the Paris Agreement by July 1, 2023 and 100 per cent of these by July 1, 2025.

IFC also sees a $2.8 trillion investment opportunity in countries such as India and Bangladesh in rebuilding for a green sustainable future.

“IFC will continue to prioritize climate investments in the region and help countries meet their nationally determined contributions under the Paris Accord,” Gomez Ang said.

Gomez Ang previously served as Country Manager for Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Botswana, during which time he led the establishment of IFC’s operations in Angola. Prior to that he was Country Manager for Brazil, where he led the repositioning of IFC’s operations through the delivery of a strong investment program and advisory engagements with federal agencies and sub-national governments.