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Responses by the IFIs to Overcome Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Central Asia

Event Date: 21 April 2020
Event Time: 07:30 AM - 09:00 AM
Location: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcocO6oqjwrH90C1dBY9_yvTowLSNkyelqo
RSVP by: 21 April 2020

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Werner Liepach, Director General, ADB

Jihad Azour, Director for Middle East and Central Asia, IMF

Lilia Burunciuc, Regional Director for Central Asia, World Bank

EBRD (pending)


In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic,  a number of international financial institutions (IFIs) are stepping in to provide immediate support to mitigate the health and economic impact of the pandemic on developing economies. As the pandemic hit Central Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have been working on providing assistance that include the following:


  • ADB is providing a countercyclical budget support, emergency project financing, grant technical assistance and non-sovereign support for firms and businesses to bolster financial and technical capabilities of member-countries to respond to the crisis;
  • IMF is providing emergency financial support to sovereigns through their Rapid Financing Instrument and Rapid Credit Facility (for low income countries), disbursing under existing precautionary arrangements, and augmenting the amount under existing financing facilities in several countries. The poorest countries can also benefit from debt relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust.
  • World Bank is providing urgent funding through a fast-track facility for immediate health needs, new operations to address the economic impact and other means, such as  restructuring of existing projects. 


Please join our discussion with ADB, IMF and World Bank representatives to learn about COVID-19 response and the pandemic's impact on businesses and economic development in Central Asia. 


Werner E. Liepach, Director General, Central and West Asia Department 

Asian Development Bank

Werner Liepach is the Director General of the Central and West Asia Department (CWRD). He assumed office in February 2018. 

Mr. Liepach oversees the definition and execution of the departmental strategy and business plan, as well as the day-to-day management of operations of the department. He is responsible to oversee ADB's regional portfolio, which now stands at .5 billion for 147 projects* and programs (excluding TAs) in seven sector divisions at ADB headquarters and 10 country offices, covering energy; environment, natural resources and agriculture; transport, public management, financial sector, and trade; regional cooperation and operations coordination; social; and urban and water development. 

Mr. Liepach also supervises ADB's engagement with the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation program, one of the largest regional cooperation programs in Asia. 

The department operates and has offices in 10 countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. 

Prior to his appointment as Director General, Mr. Liepach was Deputy Director General, and Senior Advisor in CWRD. He was ADB's Country Director for Pakistan from 2011 to 2017 and has been with ADB since 1992. 

Mr. Liepach holds a Doctorate in Economics/International Finance from University of Konstanz, Germany and a Master's degree in Management/Business Administration from the European School of Management Studies, France. 


Jihad Azour, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department

International Monetary Fund

Jihad Azour has been the Director of the International Monetary Fund's Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD) since March 2017.

Mr. Azour served as Lebanon's Finance Minister during 2005-08, during which time he coordinated the implementation of important reform initiatives at the national level and within the Finance Ministry. Before and since his time as finance minister, he held a wide range of posts in the private sector, including McKinsey and Booz and Co. where he served as vice president and senior executive advisor between 2009-13. Prior to joining the Fund he was a managing partner at advisory and investment firm Inventis Partners. 

Mr. Azour holds a PhD in International Finance and a post-graduate degree in International Economics and Finance, both from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. He also did research on emerging economies and their integration into the global economy as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, and holds a Master's degree in Applied Economics and Finance from Dauphine University, Paris. He has published five books and several articles on economic and financial issues and taught extensively. 


Lilia Burunciuc, Regional Director for Central Asia

World Bank

Lilia Burunciuc is the Country Director for the Central Asia Region at the World Bank. Since joining the World Bank in 1996, she held a range of increasingly challenging positions: Manager in Operations Policy and Country Services; Country Manager for Macedonia; Country Program Coordinator for Southern Africa and Central Asia; Senior Country Officer for Ukraine and Belarus. 

She has strong and diversified World Bank experience in leading teams and complex operational and corporate assignments such as regional and country strategies, World Bank's operations simplification and coding reform. She has extensive experience on leading policy dialogue with governments on various aspects of development. She led the preparation of the first World Bank regional strategy for Central Asia.

Prior to joining the Bank, Ms. Burunciuc was a Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Moldova (central bank). In that capacity she worked on the establishment of a regulatory framework for the foreign exchange market, reform of banking supervision and bank restructuring. 

She has a master of public administration degree from George Washington University (USA) and a degree (master level) in Economics, Management and Planning form the Technical University of Moldova.