Ranjit Nayak (born April 28, 1968, in India) is a senior staff member of the World Bank and currently serves as the chief adviser to the Government of Macedonia on international and European Union affairs. In this role, he supports the ongoing work of the European Secretariat of the Government towards EU integration, which is led by the Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs Dr. Fatmir Besimi. Nayak previously served as the World Bank’s Lead (Principal) Social Development Specialist for the Europe and Central Asia Region in Washington, D.C. from 2011 to 2013, where he oversaw social development operations in 30 countries, advised governments and World Bank partners on development issues, and led and mentored senior sector specialists within the Bank. Prior to that he served as the bank's country chief for Kosovo from 2007 to 2011, and is credited with ensuring the economic and financial sustainability of Kosovo after its declaration of independence in 2008.
Early years and background
Ranjit Nayak was born to Radhakant Nayak and Trupti Pramanik on April 28, 1968 in Sambalpur, Orissa. He belongs to the Pano, an ex-untouchable caste of south-central Orissa primarily resident in the Kandhamal district.
Dr. Nayak’s great-great grandfather belonged to the Kondh, a Scheduled Tribe notified by the President of India under Article 342, but moved into the Pano fold through marriage, due to his Pano wife. Dr. Nayak’s maternal family is from the Sambalpur District of Orissa, settling there after having moved across Bengal and Bihar in search of land and livelihood, while avoiding caste-based discrimination.
During his early years in Orissa, Dr. Nayak attended Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) in Bhubaneswar, a Government of India sponsored school for public service officials. He later studied Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar College (BJB College, Utkal University, Orissa) before moving to Delhi where he attended Hindu College (University of Delhi), earning a degree in Sociology (BA Honors) and Economics in 1989.
He completed his Masters in Sociology at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1991 while simultaneously pursuing MA-level courses in Public Administration and International Relations. As part of his dissertation, Dr. Nayak spent time researching poverty as a participant observer in the slums of New Delhi.
He continued his post-graduate studies at Cambridge University, funded by a series of scholarships from the university and the Indian Government. These included the prestigious Government of India Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Scholarship for Social Justice.
Dr. Nayak obtained two post-graduate degrees from Cambridge, an MPhil and PhD in Social Anthropology, as a member of King’s College. His MPhil involved research on development-induced displacements of minority populations, including the Kisan, Khadia and Oraon people of eastern India. His PhD, which included more than a year of lived experience among the Kisan tribe of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states, respectively, involved an examination of human rights, livelihoods and welfare economics.
Throughout his career and education, Dr. Nayak has proven himself as a macroeconomist, especially while serving in senior positions with the World Bank Group. He has represented the institution at the highest level in a country, managed business portfolios worth billions of dollars, led macroeconomic policy dialogue with governments at the highest levels and coordinated partnerships with multilateral and bilateral institutions.
Ranjit Nayak joined the World Bank in 2000 as a Young Professional (the Bank Group’s internationally competitive leadership program) and has since worked in various parts of the Bank Group, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Before joining the World Bank, Dr. Nayak served the United Nations in Geneva, non-governmental organizations in Europe and Eastern Europe, and the academia in India and the United Kingdom.
For more than two decades, Dr. Nayak has either lived or worked in over 20 countries spanning Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific, and South Asia. His expertise covers diverse sectors and themes such as energy, transport, environment, education, employment, agriculture and finance. He has served in varied environments affected by poverty, fragility of institutions, conflict, economic instability, transition and challenging political regimes.
Dr. Nayak saw through Kosovo’s independence on February 17, 2008 and the enforcement of its constitution in June 2008. He played an important role in facilitating the process of Kosovo’s membership at the World Bank. Kosovo became the newest member of the five World Bank Group institutions on June 29, 2009, when Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi signed the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and four other agencies of the World Bank Group.
Dr. Nayak was actively engaged in assisting Kosovo's development efforts. He was outspoken on the challenges of a new, fragile and post-conflict state. Dr. Nayak was articulate on institutional weaknesses, including technical capacity, organizational structures, public institutions, civil society, NGOs and the media, business culture and corruption. He was able to harness global knowledge towards the development of the young State of Kosovo. Dr. Nayak led the work in many sectors such as finance, energy, mining, climate change education, transport, health and social development.
Dr. Nayak was involved in the development of dialogue in many high-level forums and ensured partnerships with organizations such as United States Agency for International Development, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and NATO (KFOR). He was a promoter of democratic and multiethnic institutions in a region that features ethnic tensions. Dr. Nayak has been conscious of the role of the youth and the physically challenged in economic development. He is also active on the European lecture circuit. Dr. Nayak has remained committed to drawing investments to Kosovo's private sector and channeling it to the country's economic growth. In an interview with the BBC, he acknowledged the impact of the global financial crisis in certain sectors but remained optimistic about the future.
Dr. Nayak acquired his professional experience in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. He has published in the areas of resettlement and migration, post-conflict reconstruction, informal labor market, youth, corporate social responsibility, forestry, food policy, indigenous peoples, governance, and human rights. Prior to joining the World Bank, Dr. Nayak served in the United Nations in Geneva (Switzerland), Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (India), Food-First Information and Action Network in Heidelberg (Germany), and the Institute of Development Policy and Management in Manchester (United Kingdom), among others.
Achievements and awards
Ranjit Nayak has received awards and citations from development institutions, the academia and the military, including NATO (The KFOR General’s Medal). Dr. Nayak has been the recipient of awards for his peace-building efforts in Russia, Afghanistan and Southeast Europe. He has published and spoken extensively in the fields of poverty, labor, infrastructure, finance, migration, environment, and human rights.
Dr. Nayak’s media engagements have included the BBC, Voice of America, the Financial Times and the Washington Post. He is currently working on a documentary film entitled “The Making of Kosovo”, about how citizenry contributes to the development of democracy and state-building.
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- "Kosovo close to joining World Bank | Business and Economy". Newkosovareport.com. May 22, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
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- "/ Reports – Newborn state peers into a hazy future". Financial Times. June 4, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
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- "Ranjit Nayak, përfaqësues i BB: Sfida e Kosovës, furnizimi optimal me energji News of Albania 2009-09-25". Lajme.shqiperia.com. September 25, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
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- "Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development – Kosovo’s Energy Sector to Get Clean with World Bank Support". World Bank. June 28, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "Education in the Republic of Kosovo". Political Forum. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "World Bank will support Kosovo’s motorway". Limun.hr. June 30, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "Conference on Labor Markets, Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategies". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- "European Finance Convention". Euroconvention.com. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
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- "Banka Botërore shpalli fituesit e granteve të vogla | SEE Portal – Homepage". Oneworldsee.org. May 30, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
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- "BBCAlbanian.com | News | Sektori energjitik, 'sfidë për Kosovën'". BBC. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- Addressing Child Labor in South Asia. The World Bank: Washington DC (5/2004)
- Addressing Bonded Labor in South Asia. The World Bank: Washington, DC (5/2004)
- Food and Freedom: Textbook for Human Rights Education, (coauthor) FIAN International Publications, Heidelberg, Germany (3/1999)
- “Risks Associated with Landlessness: An Exploration Towards Socially Friendly Displacement & Resettlement” in M. Cernea & C. McDowell, eds. Reconstructing Livelihoods: Theory & Practice – Refugees’ & Resettlers’ Experiences, The World Bank: Washington, DC (3/2000)
- “Addressing Child Labor in the Work Place and Supply Chain” (coauthor). Good Practice Note Series. International Finance Corporation: Washington, DC (5/2002)