2008 Capitol Hill Forum and Riley Memorial Lecture Agriculture, the Fuel for Sustainable Economic Development
12:00 noon February 28, 2008 Rayburn House Office Building Rooms B-339/40, Washington, D.C. (enter on Independence Avenue)
Robert F. Townsend Senior Economist, Africa Agriculture and Rural Development Department, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, the World Bank)
Born in Zimbabwe, his last degree was a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria. As a Senior Economist at the World Bank, Dr. Townsend deals with a wide range of research and operations in the Africa Region of the World Bank, having largely to do with issues of international agricultural trade and the design and implementation of public policies for agriculture and rural development. His research has also included the matter of incentives for agricultural expansion and the productivity of the sector and its production units. Prior to embarking on his present role, he served as Senior Economist in the South Asia Sustainable Development Department of the Bank, where again he worked chiefly in research and bank operations (both the design and implementation of agricultural projects) relating to trade and public policy for rural development. He has also served the Bank's Rural Development Departments for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, although the region of his concentration has been Africa. Most recently, Dr. Townsend was a principal author of the "2008 World Development Report: Agriculture for Development". Because of the vast differences in the agricultural sector among developing nations, the production of a coherent and properly organized document represented a major challenge. Dr. Townsend was specifically responsible for preparing two of the Report's chapters. One dealt with agricultural trade policies and the other with public policy making and implementation for agricultural and rural development.