Anna Bjerde

Anna Bjerde

Managing Director of Operations

Anna Bjerde has been the World Bank’s Managing Director for Operations since April 3, 2023.

The Office of the Managing Director brings together the operations units of the World Bank, which includes the Regional Vice Presidencies and Operations Policy and Country Services. The World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Department also reports to the Managing Director. World Bank operations comprise an active portfolio of 1,768 projects to a value of $323 billion as of end FY23. Annual lending has averaged around $70.1 billion over the past three years (FY21-FY23). The operational complex of the World Bank also produces groundbreaking analytical work informing policy reforms, priority investments, technical assistance, and targeted poverty reduction. World Bank operations are grounded in a country-based model and focus on responding to the crises of recent years and medium-term development priorities including addressing challenges like poverty reduction, equitable growth, and climate change.

Prior to assuming the role of Managing Director, Ms. Bjerde served as Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, where she led the World Bank’s efforts to steer the region through a series of overlapping global shocks—the COVID-19 pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis, natural disasters, and the World Bank’s large-scale response to Ukraine.

She previously worked as Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa region. Between 2015-2018, she oversaw the World Bank’s strategies, lending, and analytical work for Sustainable Development, covering all the World Bank’s regions. She was also the Director of Strategy and Operations in the Europe and Central Asia region in 2014-15. Ms. Bjerde held a leadership role overseeing the World Bank’s operations in Sustainable Development and Infrastructure in the Africa region between 2011-2013.

Ms. Bjerde has over 30 years of experience working in development across sectors and regions, with a specific interest in inclusive growth and sustainable infrastructure development. She is a recognized and experienced leader with a strong track record of delivering large client programs, mobilizing resources, managing, and motivating extensive and decentralized workforces and forging strong bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

Ms. Bjerde is often recognized as one of Sweden's most powerful women, and in 2024 was named "International Leader of the Year" by Dagens Industri.

Ms. Bjerde holds a Master’s in Business and Economics from the University of Stockholm. 

    Talking Development is a video series featuring engaging discussions between Anna and global leaders, entrepreneurs, development practitioners, and World Bank staff from across the globe. The purpose of these talks is not only to share inspiring stories but also to showcase innovative solutions that are addressing the most pressing global challenges of our time.


    “Fonio never embarrasses the cook”: More than a proverb, a recipe for food security

    Born in Senegal, Pierre Thiam never imagined he would become world-acclaimed “Chef Pierre Thiam.” From how it all began in New York City to how fonio – an ancient grain from West Africa – can help address food insecurity, he shares his passion for food, sustainability, and supporting small farmers with World Bank Managing Director Anna Bjerde.



    The tech-entrepreneur behind the “women’s internet” in India

    In this episode of Talking Development, World Bank Managing Director Anna Bjerde talks with Sairee Chahal, the founder and CEO of three all-women digital platforms in India, who is betting on the power of technology to allow women entrepreneurs to thrive. Sairee shares her passion, her professional journey, and what lies ahead.  



    Protecting the Amazon: Lessons from Colombia

    On this episode of Talking Development on the Amazon Forest, Anna Bjerde, World Bank Managing Director, sits down with Rodrigo Botero García, Director of the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development, and Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. From Bogotá, Colombia, they discuss the complexity of tackling deforestation, the importance of mobilizing a wide range of actors, and the urgency of acting before it’s too late.


    We Should All Be Feminists: A Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    In this episode of Talking Development, World Bank Managing Director Anna Bjerde hosts renowned Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to talk about why women’s empowerment is still the fight of our time. Their conversation is an honest reflection on what remains to be done to build a more equitable world, how to challenge stereotypes, and how to lead with authenticity and inspire others.

    Anna and Chimamanda


    Partnering with Civil Society to Break the Cycle of Fragility

    In this episode of Talking Development, Anna Bjerde, Managing Director of the World Bank, and David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, talk about why humanitarian response and development must go hand in hand, and the need to partner with civil society to break the cycle of fragility. They also discuss the critical role of the International Development Association (IDA) in building resilience, and the urgency to double down on prevention. David also shares what gives him hope in dark times.

    Anna Bjerde and David Miliband


    From Kathmandu to Hollywood: How a Nepalese animation studio fosters talent and creativity

    In this episode of Talking Development, Kiran and Deepa Joshi, founders and CEOs of Incessant Rain Studios, take you inside the magical world of animation, pushing the limits of imagination. They explain to Managing Director Anna Bjerde how the company was born, and the journey to turn it into a state-of-the-art animation studio. All this while developing the local film industry, creating jobs for talented women and young people, and sharing Nepal’s culture with the world.  



    Teaming Up with the World Food Programme to Tackle Food Insecurity

    In a world where crises and shocks are becoming the norm, development and humanitarian actors are being brought closer together to respond and provide short- and long-term assistance. In this episode of Talking Development, Anna Bjerde, World Bank Managing Director, and Carl Skau, World Food Programme Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, discuss how the two organizations can deploy their comparative advantages to make a dent on world hunger and build resilient food systems. 

    Anna Bjerde and Carl Skau


    The Future of Climate: Youth Leadership at COP28

    COP28, hosted this year by Dubai, marks the midway point between the 2015 Paris Agreement and 2030 targets for the Sustainable Development Goals. To address the remaining work towards meeting these targets, Managing Director Anna Bjerde meets with youth climate ambassadors Ashawnté Russell and Muskan Lodhi about how young people are driving climate action. They discuss what being climate ambassadors means to them, the importance of youth representation at COP, and what they’re hopeful for the future. 



    Breaking Barriers in Sri Lanka: A Woman’s Journey to the Top

    This week on Talking Development, Managing Director Anna Bjerde is joined by Kasturi Wilson in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Kasturi is the first female CEO of Hemas Holdings PLC, one of Sri Lanka's leading companies. Their conversation focuses on how closing the gender gap can contribute to economic growth, the barriers and cultural biases women face in the workplace, and how sports helped Kasturi become the leader she is today.



    Powering Development Through Policy: Insights from East Asia and the Pacific and Europe and Central Asia

    On this episode of Talking Development, Managing Director Anna Bjerde continues her series of talks with World Bank regional chief economists. Joined by Aaditya Mattoo from East Asia and the Pacific and Ivailo Izvorski from Europe and Central Asia, they discuss how global trends are impacting their respective regions and how they can create long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.



    Morocco at a Crossroad: Learning from Crisis, Reimagining the Future

    This week, from Marrakech at the 2023 World Bank – IMF Annual Meetings, Managing Director Anna Bjerde speaks with Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah. Together, they reflect on Morocco’s development story and the ways to overcome challenges and respond to shocks and crises. 



    Operating in the toughest situations, A challenge we must tackle together

    On this new episode of Talking Development, Managing Director Anna Bjerde speaks with two tireless advocates for the most vulnerable who have dedicated their careers to working in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence: Soukeyna Kane, Director of the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group; and Kristina Svensson, Country Manager for Somalia.



    Survival and Resilience at the Chad-Sudan Border

    This week on Talking Development, World Bank Managing Director of Operations Anna Bjerde is joined by UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi. While on mission in Chad, they visited the Sudan border to see firsthand the scale of the influx of refugees fleeing Sudan due to ongoing violence and conflict.



    The Challenge of Exclusion

    On this episode of Talking Development, Managing Director of Operations Anna Bjerde continues her series of talks with World Bank chief economists. This episode features Franziska Ohnsorge and Bill Maloney, Chief Economists for South Asia and for Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively.



    Building Resilience in a Changing World
    Countries like Ghana that were making positive strides in development over past decades have been hit hard by recent crises and are working to get back on track. On this episode of Talking Development Anna Bjerde is joined by Senior Social Protection Specialist Christabel Dadzie and Senior Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist Harold Esseku in the World Bank Accra office.



    The View from Africa and the Middle East
    In this episode of Talking Development, Managing Director for Operations Anna Bjerde sits with World Bank Chief Economists Andrew Dabalen from the Africa region and Roberta Gatti from the Middle East and North Africa region.



    Korea: Learning from a Development Success
    In this episode of Talking Development, shot in the World Bank Group Korea Office in May 2023, MDO Anna Bjerde talks with Jason Allford, Special Representative for Korea, and Jisun Kim, Program Manager of the Korea Program for Operational Knowledge.



    Partnering for Ukraine
    In this episode of Talking Development, World Bank Managing Director of Operations Anna Bjerde sits down with Vice Presidents from across the World Bank Group who oversee work in Ukraine - Antonella Bassani from the World Bank, Alfonso Garcia Mora from IFC, and Junaid Kamal Ahmad from MIGA.



    The Polycrisis Facing Development: Conversation with Masood Ahmed
    On this episode of Talking Development, Anna Bjerde sits down with Masood Ahmed, President of the Center for Global Development to discuss the overlapping crises facing developing countries and how the World Bank and other development institutions will need to adapt to this new reality.