Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Jamaican lands major role at World Bank

Published:Friday | February 3, 2017 | 2:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Rolande Pryce

Rolande Pryce is extremely grateful for the experience she gained, having worked for the Government of Jamaica for more than 10 years. This, she believes, paved the way for her securing the post of portfolio and operations manager for the World Bank's Office based in Indonesia.

In other words, the past student of the St Andrew High School for Girls sits second to the country director in Indonesia, managing the World Bank's programme in the Southeast Asian country, which is the bank's largest office outside of the World Bank's Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Before landing the coveted job last December, the 46-year-old applied and was accepted to the World Bank's highly competitive Legal Associates programme in 2006. Simultaneously, she worked as advisory lawyer in the Finance, Private Sector Development and Infrastructure Legal Practice, principally advising on energy operations.

She told The Gleaner, however, that having studied law extensively and worked in many legal organisations, this presented a few hurdles, which she had to manoeuvre.

"World Bank staff are predominantly economists or have sector expertise important for development like health, private sector development, water management, agriculture, among other areas. However, I am a lawyer. That surprises people," she said, laughing.

"Many of the issues critical to development centre around economics, and while I have studied economics, it is not my core academic strength. So when I meet new colleagues I know they may wonder if I can really manage a high-level policy dialogue," Pryce said.

She added: "However, I learned the issues and the jargon. I really embraced the challenges and leaned heavily on my experience working in the Jamaican Government. After 10 years, I feel more than comfortable with my work at the [World] Bank."

Pryce, who managed the bank's country programmes in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and drafted the World Bank's OECS Regional Partnership Strategy in 2008, said that she was thankful for the opportunity to aid in the fight in eliminating people's poverty and boosting prosperity.

"It's a privilege to work in international development. My job is to help governments solve challenges that will lift people out of poverty. As the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia is seen as a very important programme. The bank is concerned about poverty alleviation, and extreme poverty in Indonesia is about 11 per cent. This means that in Indonesia, approximately 28 million people are living just below the poverty line," she lamented.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com