The World Bank Group Voice Secondment Program (VSP) held its first-ever VSP symposium on Monday, July 17, 2023. The event was held virtually and was well attended, with close to fifty (50) attendees. Speakers at the symposium included VSP alumni from previous VSP cohorts as well as some participants in the 18th cohort of the VSP.
A key objective of this symposium was for alumni of various VSP cohorts to share their experiences during and after their secondment to the World Bank Group (WBG). A second and related objective was for the VSP Secretariat to hear directly from the VSP alumni on their experiences, challenges, opportunities and successes during and after their VSP secondment to the WBG.
The symposium presentations and discussions were so enriching that it was agreed by almost everyone present to have follow-up symposiums of this kind. Many participants in the current VSP cohort, that is, the 18th cohort, scheduled to graduate on September 6, 2023, made brilliant observations and asked insightful questions on pertinent aspects of socio-economic development in various parts of the world. International and comparative perspectives on best practices to deal with a number of these issues were shared by both the VSP alumni and the 18th cohort of the VSP.
The presentations and discussions ranged from experiences of the VSP alumni during their secondment to the WBG, working, say, on World Bank projects dealing with issues of procurement, disbursements, financial and private sector development, environmental and social safeguard policies or disaster risk management, to public finance and debt management issues currently obtaining in the home countries of the VSP alumni (and Secondees) and how the VSP alumni’s experience at the WBG is helping them to tackle these issues. The VSP alumni also shared how their VSP experience has enriched and deepened their capacity in dealing with and working closely with WBG operational teams and Board Officials.