Inspirational Talks - Beyond Now: Protecting People through Innovation and Good Policy in the COVID Era

"Innovations in policy actions and public and private sector-led responses in the time of COVID-19"

Bite-sized learning from leaders and innovators from Peru, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Estonia, and Ireland. Explore examples of policy actions and public and private sector-led responses to protect people in the time of COVID-19. 


Opening Remarks by Annette Dixon, Vice President, Human Development World Bank Group


Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Policy and Partnerships, World Bank looks at the immediate emergency response and considers how countries and organizations like the World Bank can protect the hard-won gains of human capital over the middle to long term.


Maria Antonieta Alva, Minister of Finance, Peru, talks about efforts to safeguard people’s health and human capital investments and ideas to protect people in future crises. (The video is in English and has Spanish subtitles) 


David Moinina Sengeh, Ministry of Senior Basic Secondary Education and Chief Innovation Officer, Sierra Leone, focuses on how Sierra Leone is grappling with a crisis that affects many sectors and his ideas on tackling “learning poverty”. (The video is in English and has French subtitles)


Hossain Zillur Rahman, Chairman, BRAC, and Executive Chairman, PPRC, talks about the importance of community engagement in tackling COVID-19 and shares ideas or innovations for protecting and recovering human capital. 


Taavi Kotka, Founder, Proud Engineers, and former Chief Information Officer of Estonia explains how innovation and technology can make people’s lives better in a crisis and shares how Estonia has worked to adapt e-services to citizens.


Paul Ryan, Head, International Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Ireland, shares Ireland’s experiences in dealing with the impact of COVID – 19 and reflects on experience from previous crises when Ireland made significant investments in Human Capital to address serious social and economic problems.

About the Presenters

Mari Pangestu

Managing Director of Policy and Partnerships, World Bank

Mari Pangestu is the World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships. In this role, which she assumed on March 1, 2020, Ms. Pangestu oversees the research and data group of the World Bank (DEC) and the External and Corporate Relations function. From July 1, 2020, she will also provide leadership to and oversee the work program of the World Bank’s Global Practice Groups. Ms. Pangestu joins the Bank with exceptional policy and management expertise, having served as Indonesia’s Minister of Trade from 2004 to 2011 and as Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy from 2011 to 2014. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the Australian National University, and her doctorate in economics from the University of California at Davis. 

Maria Antonieta Alva

Minister of Finance, Peru

María Antonieta Alva is the Minister of Economy and Finance of Peru since October 2019. She has been working in Peru’s public administration for 10 years. In 2017, she was appointed General Director of Public Budget at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, where she conducted Peru’s public budget and the formulation of the Public Budget Acts of 2018 and 2019. Between 2014 and 2017, she was the Chief of Strategic Planning and Budget at the Ministry of Education. Previously, she worked at the General Directorate of Public Investment and the General Directorate of Public Budget at the Ministry of Economy and Finance. María Antonieta Alva holds a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (USA), and a BA in Economics from Universidad del Pacífico (Peru).

David Moinina Sengeh

Chief Innovation Officer & Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone

David Moinina Sengeh is Sierra Leone’s first-ever chief innovation officer. He is also the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. Previously he was a research scientist at IBM Research Africa, Nairobi. David was born and raised in Sierra Leone, and received his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab, where his research in the biomechatronics group focused on the design of comfortable prosthetic sockets and wearable interfaces. He is the president and co-founder of the international NGO Global Minimum (GMin). Currently, GMin’s main project is Innovate Challenges: the first-ever competition created to foster a culture of innovation among high-school students in Africa, where youth can get help in transforming their ideas into tangible solutions. GMin was one of three winners out of 1,000 nominees for the Rockefeller Foundation Next Century Innovators Awards. 

Hossain Zillur Rahman

Chairman, BRAC and Executive Chairman of Power and Participation Research Center (PPRC)

Economist and social thinker Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman is a leading policy voice of Bangladesh with over three decades of experience within and outside the government. Holding a master’s in economics from Dhaka University, and Ph.D. in political sociology from the University of Manchester, UK, Dr. Rahman was a leading researcher at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies between 1977 and 2000 and led the internationally renowned Analysis of Poverty Trends project (1989-98). In 1996, he founded the think tank Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) and has been its executive chairman since 2000. He was the lead consultant for the preparation of the first poverty reduction strategy paper, Unlocking the Potential, 2005, of the Government of Bangladesh and was a member of the SAARC Poverty Commission. Dr. Rahman was the Advisor (Cabinet Minister) of Education and Commerce in the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh (2007-08).

Taavi Kotka

Founder, Proud Engineers and Head, Jio research Center, Estonia

Taavi Kotka is an information visionary and was formerly Chief Information Officer for Estonia. Apolitical named him among World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government (2018). In 2014, he proposed the idea and became the father of the e-residency (next generation identity solution in Estonia) aiming for 10 million e-residents by 2025. Prior to joining the government, he was the CEO of Nortal, one of the largest software development companies in the Baltic states. He was a special advisor on the digital single market issues, electronic identity and e-governance for the vice president of the European Commission. Taavi was named European CIO of the Year (2014) and Computerworld named him among Premier 100 Technology Leaders (2016).  Most recently, Taavi founded a company, Proud Engineers. He is currently Head of Jio Research Center in Estonia supporting digital transformation in India.

Paul Ryan

Member of the Executive Board and Head of International Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Ireland

A member of the Ministry of Finance’s nine-person Executive Board, Dr Paul Ryan leads its International Finance Division. The Division is responsible for managing Ireland’s membership and relationship with a range of 15 International Financial Institutions, including the IMF and the World Bank Group. Dr. Ryan is either the Alternate Governor or Temporary Alternate Governor for the IFIs.  The Division is also responsible for Climate Action/Climate Finance issues and the development of Ireland’s International Financial Services industry where there is a growing focus on technology and sustainable finance. Paul has experience in a number of other Ministries including Education & Science; Environment & Local Government; and Justice.

Annette Dixon

Vice President, Human Development World Bank Group

Annette Dixon is the Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank Group, overseeing the Global Practices for education; health, nutrition, and population; gender; and social protection and jobs. She was previously the Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region. In managing the World Bank’s engagement in South Asia to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, Annette led relations with eight countries, including India -- the institution’s biggest client. She also oversaw lending operations and trust-funded projects worth more than $10 billion a year. Prior to that, Annette was Director, Strategic Planning in the Budget, Performance Review and Strategic Planning Vice Presidency and Country Director to Central Asia, then South East Asia. She joined the Bank in 1999 and worked as Sector Director for Human Development in the ECA region. Annette is a long-standing champion on gender issues. In South Asia, she has set a target to deliver 100 percent gender-informed projects and interventions, going beyond the global corporate requirements. Under her leadership, the regional priority for South Asia is to support countries to improve women’s labor force participation. Prior to joining the World Bank, Annette Dixon worked for the Government of New Zealand as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Youth Affairs. She also served as General Manager, Sector Policy; Deputy Director-General in the Ministry of Health; Director of Health Policy, Department of the Prime Minister; and Manager Policy Division, Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Annette holds a Master of Public Policy. She was also awarded the Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University.