5 June 2019

The Nigerian economist and Humboldt alumnus Evans S. Osabuohien on economic development in Africa

Jan Walliser Memorial Lecture at the German Development Institute

The former Georg Forster Research Fellow held his memorial lecture as part of an event hosted by the German Development Institute yesterday to commemorate Jan Walliser, the late vice-president of the World Bank from Germany. The lecture evening was organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Development Institute.

Unterzeichnung des Memorandum of Understanding
Humboldt alumnus Evans S. Osabuohien (right) in a discussion
Photo: German Development Institute

“Africa was not created to be behind”, stressed Osabuohien, Professor of Economics and Development Studies at Covenant University in Ogun State in southwestern Nigeria. In his lecture commemorating the late World Bank vice-president, he traced the history and the current state of the continent’s economic development, which Jan Walliser always vehemently championed. At present, much hinges on the integration of individual regions, said Osabuohien. An African economic and monetary union could foster this, he noted, adding that there are still many challenges to be overcome. The former Georg Forster Research Fellow was the recipient of numerous international fellowships and is considered to be one of Africa’s leading young economists. His lecture was followed by a panel discussion.

At the start of the event, Thomas Hesse, Deputy Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, welcomed the attendees. Following a welcoming address by Christoph Rauh, Director of Directorate Africa at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Linda van Gelder, a colleague of Jan Walliser at the World Bank, recalled Jan Walliser on a very personal level.

Born in Eckernförde, Jan Walliser took the position of a vice-president at the World Bank in 2015. Early in his career he turned his focus on Africa. He worked in the Central African Republic, Senegal and Yemen, among other posts, before he became responsible for Burkina Faso as an economist for the World Bank. He was responsible for Africa beginning in 2012 as the deputy vice-president at the World Bank and implemented programmes with annual credit volumes of US$ 10 billion.

Jan Walliser died in June 2018 at the age of 49.

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