World Bank appoints Nigerian into advisory council

Sahara Group director, Tonye Cole
Tonye Cole

The World Bank Group has appointed the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, into its Expert Advisory Council on citizen engagement.

The council was established in 2014 to guide the development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in the Bank’s operations.

The strategic framework of the council was designed to give citizens a stake in decision making to improve the intermediate and final development outcomes of their partnerships with government.

Mr Cole, who is one of the first two Nigerians ever to be appointed to the Council, said the platform would help articulate and address the real concerns of the private citizenry across the globe on a size and scale only the World Bank is capable of providing.

“The World Bank is a results-driven institution. I am delighted at the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the Council on robust agenda setting and implementation of initiatives that are so crucial to global sustainable development,” said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday by Sahara Group’s spokesperson, Bethel Obioma.

Mr Obioma said Mr Cole is one of the two designated private sector specialists on the Council, composed of two representatives each from civil society, academia, the private sector, governments, foundations and development partner/donor organisations.

Other new members joining the Council are: Flavia Milano (Inter-American Development Bank), Helena Bjunemalm (Swedish International Development Agency), Emily Martinez (Open Society Foundations) and another Nigerian, Muhammed Sanu Abdullahi (Government of the State of Kaduna).

“My work with global agencies and institutions on sustainable development has only reinforced the importance of private and public sector collaboration. My colleagues and I believe continued cross-sectorial and multi-stakeholder engagement can transform the landscape on sustainability and social development for the next generation. I am feeling very positive as we collectively embark on this new chapter,” he said.

World Bank official Jeff Thindwa, Manager of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability and who oversees the Council nomination and selection process, reportedly expressed delight at Cole’s addition to the Council.

“Mr. Cole will bring a unique private sector perspective to the Council. Combined with his longstanding experience serving global development institutions in various capacities, this positions Mr Cole to make an impactful contribution to the work of the Council,” Mr Thindwa said according to the statement.

Mr Obioma said Mr Cole appointment offers yet another platform for him to share his passion for “giving wings to aspirations” as a foremost African entrepreneur and sustainable development advocate.

Currently, Mr Cole serves on the Board of the United Nations Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) on Sustainable Development Goals and also Chairs the Nigerian Private Sector Advisory Group.

In August 2017, he was appointed to the Steering Committee of PACI (Partnering Against Corruption Initiative) an anti-corruption platform of the World Economic Forum (WEF).


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