Philippe Le Houérou became Vice President for the World Bank’s South Asia Region on July 1, 2013.
Born in Montpellier, France, Le Houérou grew up in North Africa and Italy and went on to attend the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (France), followed by an MBA at Columbia University in New York and a Ph.D in Economics from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.
Le Houérou joined the World Bank as part of its Young Professionals Program in 1987. Since then, he has worked in East Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe and Central Asia. He also worked in corporate services (Information & Technology, and Finance).
In the early-1990s, he served as Senior Country Economist for the World Bank’s program in Russia and advised on budget management and public expenditure issues. After Russia, Le Houérou was assigned as Country Manager for Madagascar, where he supported the government’s reform program and the opening up of the country’s economy. He then became Sector Manager for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) for Southern Africa and West Indian Ocean.
In May 2006, Le Houérou became Vice President for Concessional Finance and Global Partnerships (CFP). In this position he worked with donor countries to raise money for the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries that supports development programs with long-term, interest-free credits and grants. Le Houérou twice led the team that successfully replenished IDA. He also oversaw a reform of donor trust fund management and the development of innovative finance methods for the World Bank Group.
In between the two IDA efforts, Le Houérou served from November 2005 to May 2006 as acting Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the World Bank’s Information Solutions Group, which supports the Bank’s business strategy and operations through cost-effective and efficient information and technology solutions.
From August 2009, as Vice President for the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, Le Houérou supervised more than 900 staff working in headquarters, 23 country offices, and 2 satellite offices that served 30 countries. He led the region’s response to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis. During his 4-year tenure, a total of $28.9 billion was committed. He developed a new Strategy for ECA region focusing on three pillars – increasing competitiveness, improving social inclusion, and combating climate change. He also improved the quality of the ECA lending portfolio, and increased the efficiency of projects implementation. Le Houérou also focused on increasing the ECA region’s analytical and advisory work, including innovative Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS), providing cutting-edge knowledge on key policy challenges for the region, as well as in Eurozone countries.
On July 1st, 2013, Le Houérou was appointed as Vice President for South Asia Region, to lead the World Bank’s work in a part with the largest concentration of poor people in the world that is critical to the institution’s goals of ending global poverty and boosting shared prosperity. He is in charge of a portfolio of 219 projects, focusing on five pillars: increasing employment and accelerating growth; enhancing human development and social welfare; strengthening governance and accountability; reducing weather, disaster, and food vulnerability; and enhancing regional cooperation. He supervises more than 760 staff working in headquarters and seven country offices serving Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.