Although he works for the World Bank in Washington DC as a Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Mozambican national Carlos Vicente has kept his commitment to sub-Saharan Africa.
After completing a Masters degree at the Australian National University (ANU) in July 2007 on a scholarship funded by the Australian Government, Carlos started working at the World Bank to help governments in Cape Verde, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan and South Sudan develop their financial sectors to enable rapid growth and poverty reduction.
In his native country of Mozambique, Carlos worked with the Ministry of Planning and Development to design a ‘growth poles’ project, which will help local businesses and provincial governments benefit from foreign direct investment in natural resources.
The project will upgrade transport infrastructure and help farmers move their goods to consumer markets around mining projects in northern Mozambique. It will also equip the local labour force with the skills mining companies need, such as welding and driving, as well as build the capacity of local governments to plan and deliver basic services like water and sanitation. The project was approved by the World Bank Board in April 2013 and implementation will start soon.
“My deep knowledge of Mozambique was useful during the design of the project, especially in aiding the discussion with local authorities,” says Carlos.
In 2010, Carlos also worked with the Government of Malawi to design a financial sector development project that aims to increase access to finance for Malawians. He proposed measures to build the capacity of the Financial Sector Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance. These measures included staff training and secondments, the acquisition of equipment and the placement of external advisors within the Ministry. Carlos also held policy discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Malawi on how to reform state-owned banks and strengthen the framework for long-term finance.
“There is no way I could have made these contributions without the skills and knowledge I gained in Australia,” says Carlos, who worked as a researcher at the Institute of Economic and Social Studies in Mozambique before joining the World Bank.
Carlos has already proven that he is the first among equals. In 2008, a year after completing his Masters in Australia, he was the first Mozambican to join the World Bank Group through its prestigious Young Professionals Program, established in 1963. Carlos attributes this good fortune to the scholarship he received to study in Australia under the Australia Awards – Africa initiative.
“The good reputation of the ANU, coupled with my outstanding academic record and references from professors, gave me the credentials to compete against more than 10,000 candidates, and make it to the final 41.”