My own leadership journey began abruptly late on Monday afternoon, February 5, 1996. That day, I’d asked for a meeting with one of the managing directors of the World Bank—one of the three people who reported to the president of the bank and were charged with running its operations. As the director of the Africa Region, I needed to see him because that curious thing known as “my career” had just then taken a turn for the worse.
The World Bank is an international lending organization located in Washington, D.C., and aimed at relieving global poverty. For several decades, I had held a number of positions and functions, including programming and budgeting, the West Africa riverblindness program, population, health ...

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