The World Bank Monday named Justin Lin Yifu, who defected from Taiwan and rose to become a top economic strategist for communist China, as its chief economist -- the first time a Chinese has held the job.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Lin, the founding director of the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University, would bring to the bank the perspective of a developing country on agriculture issues, as well as on economic challenges in Africa, where China has aggressively sought trade and investment opportunities.
"As our first chief economist from a developing country, and an expert on economic development and particularly agriculture, Justin Lin brings a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group," Zoellick said in a statement announcing the appointment.
"I look forward to working closely with him on a number of areas, including growth and investment in Africa, opportunities for South-South learning (between developing countries) and bank instruments to better support countries hit by high energy and agriculture prices," he said.
"China's experiences can help the World Bank shore up its leading role in global poverty reduction," Lin told Chinese news agency Xinhua after the announcement was made.
Lin, 55, is expected to take his positions as the global development lender's senior vice president for development economics and chief economist on May 31. He replaces Francois Bourguignon, who retired as the World Bank's chief economist last year. (AFP)
Chinese professor named World Bank chief economist