Chinese named World Bank chief economist

WASHINGTON, Feb 4, 2008 (AFP) – The World Bank named Monday Justin Lin Yifu, who defected from Taiwan to China and rose to become a top economic strategist for the communist country, as its chief economist, the first time a Chinese has held the job. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Lin, the founding director of the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University, would bring to the bank the perspective of a developing country on agriculture issues, as well as on economic challenges in Africa, where China has aggressively sought trade and investment opportunities.

“As our first chief economist from a developing country, and an expert on economic development and particularly agriculture, Justin Lin brings a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group,” Zoellick said in a statement announcing the appointment.

“I look forward to working closely with him on a number of areas, including growth and investment in Africa, opportunities for South-South learning and bank instruments to better support countries hit by high energy and agriculture prices,” he said.

Lin, 55, is expected to take his position as the global development lender’s senior vice president for development economics and chief economist on