Ishac Diwan is the Director of Research for the Finance for Development Lab, a new institute located at the Paris School of Economics where he also teaches economics. Until recently he held the Chair Socio-Economy of the Arab World at Paris Sciences et Lettres | PSL (a consortium of Parisian universities).
Diwan received his PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1987, he joined the World Bank’s Research Complex, where he focused on international finance, trade, and macroeconomics. In 1992, with the coming of the Oslo Agreements, he joined the World Bank’s Middle East Department, first as the country economist for the West Bank and Gaza and later as a regional economist. He contributed to the creation of the prime network of economists in the Middle East, the Economic Research Forum, and of a regional policy forum, the Mediterranean Development Forum. In 1996, he joined the World Bank Institute and led the Economic Policy group (1996-2002), creating the Attacking Poverty Program and contributing to the initiation of the Global Development Network.
Diwan was the World Bank’s Country Director for Ethiopia and Sudan (2002-2007), and then for Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Guinea (2007-2011). He led several ambitious initiatives, such as Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net, Ethiopia’s Protection of Basic Services Program, and in West Africa, initiatives to support commercial agriculture, natural resources development, and jobs for the youth.
He has held teaching positions at New York University (Stern School of Business), Columbia University (School of International and Public Affairs), and Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government). At Harvard, he was also Director for Africa and the Middle East at the Growth Lab of the Center for International Development (2011-2014).
Diwan is a frequent consultant with governments and international organizations, working recently on policy issues in Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. He directs the Political Economy program of the Economic Research Forum, where he runs two projects on the study of crony capitalism, and the analysis of opinion surveys. His current research interests focus on the political economy of the Middle East, in addition to broader development issues.
During the Spring of 2023, he will be a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School (Center for International Development).