The Jakarta Post
The World Bank appointed Indonesian senior economist Mari Elka Pangestu as its managing director for development policy and partnerships, making her the second Indonesian woman to hold the strategic post after Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
The Washington DC-based development bank lauded Mari’s “exceptional policy and management expertise”, citing her previous experience as Trade Minister between 2004 and 2011 as well as Tourism and Creative Economy Minister between 2011 and 2014.
World Bank Group President David Malpass welcomed Mari’s appointment, saying in a statement posted on the bank’s website that her wealth of experience would benefit the bank’s mission.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Mari to the Bank in this critical new role for the institution,” said Malpass. In her role, effective March 1, Mari will lead and oversee the Global Practice Groups, the research and data group of the World Bank (DEC) and the external and corporate relations function.
“Her experience as a senior minister, her globally recognized credentials as an economist and researcher, along with her extensive leadership experience and engagement in key international forums on important development issues, will greatly benefit our urgent work at the World Bank Group in support of broad-based growth and poverty reduction,” Malpass added.
Mari took to Twitter to convey her gratitude to Malpass and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration for its endorsement for the position, while she also hoped her past experiences would serve her well for the new role at the World Bank.
“I would like to thank @DavidMalpassWBG for appointing me in this position. I would also like to thank president @jokowi and the government of Indonesia for their support. I hope my experience in Indonesia can contribute to economic growth in many more developing countries,” she tweeted on Friday, tagging the official accounts of Malpass and Jokowi.
Mari Elka Pangestu (left) laughs with the publisher of The Jakarta Post Jusuf Wanandi (right) on the sidelines of a seminar held by The Jakarta Post to celebrate its 33rd anniversary in April 2016. (thejakartapost.com/Wienda Parwitasari)
Then-coordinating maritime affairs minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said in October last year that Jokowi nominated Mari for the managing director post at the World Bank, saying that she was well-qualified for the role. Luhut is now Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister.
Aside from her ministerial role in the administration of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Mari was also known for her work in academia. She is a professor of international economics at the University of Indonesia and a senior fellow at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.
She was also a board member of Jakarta-based think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Indonesia Bureau of Economic Research (IBER).
Mari will be the second Indonesian woman to assume the World Bank’s managing director position after Sri Mulyani held a similar post between 2010 and 2016.
Sri Mulyani was previously managing director and chief operating officer, where she was responsible for the bank’s operations around the world. She represented the World Bank Group at the G20 and chaired the International Development Association (IDA), the bank’s fund for the poorest countries.
Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo expected Mari's role in the World Bank to turn her wealth of experience into something good for emerging markets. "She will be in charge of development policies which, God willing, will be good for emerging markets, including Indonesia," Perry said, congratulating Mari on her post as "one of the highest level leaders at the World Bank". (mfp)