New VP of IFC to oversee efforts in spurring private sector growth

Riccardo Puliti is the new Regional Vice President of International Finance Corporation for Asia and the Pacific


To oversee and for regional efforts in spurring private sector growth and identifying impact collaborations for a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery, in response to multiple crises and a deteriorating global economic outlook, International Finance Corporation (IFC’s) appointed Riccardo Puliti as the new regional vice president for Asia and the Pacific on 1 February in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Economies in the Asia and Pacific region continue to suffer from Covid-19 disruptions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and tightening global financial conditions, including through higher food and energy prices. In addition, weaker global growth and more frequent disruptive weather events linked to climate change threaten to dampen the region’s growth trajectory, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report.

In taking on the role of IFC’s Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, Puliti stressed the need for more private sector investment, given the limited fiscal space of countries in the region.

“With the global economy facing multiple headwinds this year, there is an urgent need for more private investment in the region to create jobs and boost output,” Puliti said. Adding, “With the right policies in place to attract and incentivize new investment, countries can leverage private sector financing to help meet their large unmet investment needs.

“The reality is that investment growth in emerging markets and developing economies in Asia and the Pacific – as in the rest of the world – remains below the average rate of the last two decades. That must be turned around as history tells us strong investment growth delivers dividends. It is also vital for climate targets and to progress the development of clean, renewable, and affordable energy and seize all the opportunities digital infrastructure can deliver for the region’s people,” said Puliti.

He also said, “Asia and the Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate shocks, underscoring the need for urgent action to protect the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.”

Puliti further said that the region also needs to bridge the massive trillion-dollar infrastructure gap, limiting people’s access to basic services.  Gender equality, digital growth, and capital mobilization are also key priorities as IFC continues to work to improve financial inclusion, strengthen health care systems, and increase access to finance for small businesses, as they are the engine of growth in the region and key incubators of jobs.

“The challenges are profound but so are the opportunities. Together, they only reinforce the importance of IFC’s work with the private sector in catalyzing investment, driving innovative green and blue transactions to address marine pollution and climate change, and redoubling our efforts to lift people out of poverty,” he added.

Meanwhile, speaking to Bhutan Times, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, Martin Holtmann, said, “Since 2003, IFC invested over $48 million to support private sector contribution to Bhutan’s development in financial, agribusiness and tourism sectors.”

“We have been providing technical assistance to promote financial inclusion through the improvement of financial infrastructure, working closely with the banking industry, and aim to continue focusing on promoting agribusiness and financial inclusion,” Martin added.

Martin further said that they are also consulting with various agencies in Bhutan to explore investments in the infrastructure space and discussing with government counterparts and the private sector to explore developing an advisory program to further improve Bhutan’s business-enabling environment. “So, we are excited about doing more in Bhutan to help the country and its people.”