Satu Kahkonen

Country Director for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini

Satu Kahkonen is the World Bank Country Director for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini. Ms. Kahkonen oversees the Bank’s program in these countries and leads policy dialogue with government counterparts, civil society and other partners.

Prior to this position, she was the Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste and prior to that, Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Preceding that, she was a Director of the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice at the World Bank Group, which comprises over 350 staff with expertise in macroeconomics, fiscal policy, growth and statistics. Here, she oversaw the work of the Practice in Europe and Central Asia, East Asia and Pacific, as well as South Asia.

Ms. Kahkonen was previously a Sector Manager in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management unit, which focused on economic policy management and covered 18 countries of the East and South East Europe—new EU Member States and Western Balkans—as well as select Eurozone countries. She had also worked as a Lead Economist in South Asia, East and South East Europe, and Africa in the World Bank. In that role, she led a team which provided economic policy advice and technical expertise to multiple countries including Pakistan, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Uganda.

Before joining the World Bank, Ms. Kahkonen was part of the faculty of the University of Maryland and Associate Director of the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector (IRIS), a think tank affiliated with the Department of Economics and headed by the late Professor Mancur Olson.

Ms. Kahkonen is the author of three books on economic development, and has published numerous economic reports and research papers.

Ms. Kahkonen holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and an M.Sc. from the Helsinki School of Economics.