Priya Basu was appointed as the inaugural Executive Head of the Pandemic Fund at the Word Bank in September 2022. During the pandemic she led the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 to address key bottlenecks in vaccine access and delivery, as well as the Bank’s engagement on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response with the G20 and G7 - coordinating across finance and health. She also led the development of the Pandemic Fund, working with a large group of donors and development partners, the WHO, and other stakeholders, including international agencies, philanthropies, private sector, and civil society, mobilizing political and financial support to establish the fund in record time with initial seed capital of $2 billion.
In previous roles at the World Bank, Priya led the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a multi-donor partnership focused on women's economic empowerment. Prior to that, she managed the World Bank’s $21 billion portfolio of multilateral financing mechanisms and trust funds to address global challenges, such as epidemics and pandemics, climate change, and refugee crises. She also previously served as the Bank's lead financial economist for India, where she led the Bank’s engagement to promote resilient and inclusive financial systems and enabling reforms for private sector-led growth. Priya grew the Bank’s India finance and private sector lending/advisory portfolio from $500 million to over $5.5 billion and oversaw the portfolio. Prior to the World Bank, Priya worked as an economist at the IMF in Washington DC, the Asian Development Bank in Manila and UNCTAD and ILO in Geneva. Before that, she worked in investment banking in London.
In a career spanning three decades, Priya has successfully managed complex engagements across regions to solve country-level development challenges as well as developed and managed high-level strategic international partnerships with donors, client governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to address global development challenges, particularly at the intersection of global health and international finance and mobilized resources to back these initiatives.
Priya brings thought leadership on a variety of international development issues and a deep understanding of development cooperation. She is the author of three books, including Creating Resilient Financial Regimes in Asia: Challenges and Policy Options (Oxford University Press), India’s Financial Sector: Recent Reforms, Future Challenges (Macmillan), and Improving Access to Finance in India (World Bank). Priya holds a first class B.A (Hons.) degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, a B.A (Hons.)/M.A in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and postgraduate degrees in development economics from Merton College, Oxford University, U.K.