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White House Deputy CTO Joins World Bank To Implement Bank's New Tech Strategy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 12 2012

The U.S.' former Deputy CTO Chris Vein has joined the World Bank. Photo: Flickr/Code for America

Chris Vein is someone who's built a career on bringing innovation to government bureaucracies, first for the city of San Francisco under Mayor Gavin Newsom, and then at the Obama Administration's White House as a deputy chief technology officer. He is now moving on to help the governments of the rest of the world.

Vein began a new job at the World Bank this week as its chief innovation officer for global information and communications technology development. In this role, he'll lead the technology strategy across all of the bank's various entities as the bank helps developing countries build their communications and open government infrastructures, Edward Anderson, a World Bank ICT specialist in Washington, D.C. told techPresident. Vein (Anderson's boss) is travelling through Russia and Tunisia this week, and wasn't available for an interview about his new gig.

Citing an internal memo, Anderson said that Vein's top priorities were described to World Bank personel as focusing on implementing the bank's recently-approved technology strategy, leading the bank's policy dialogue and engagement with client countries, bank management, the private sector, civil society organizations and development partners, to oversee the quality and effectiveness of the bank's knowledge network, and to connect cutting-edge information technology knowledge and expertise to client countries.

The World Bank unveiled its new information and communication technology strategy this July. The plan is an outline of how its various entities will help client countries develop their connectivity and build open government platforms to better engage citizens and make those countries' governments more accountable.

Anderson pointed to recent open government and open data projects in Moldova and Kenya as examples of the kinds of tech projects that the bank's strategy is focusing on. He also said the bank works with other development banks to analyze how information technology can "transform" developing countries' economies.

He said that the new strategy was the bank's response to recent years' developments in technology.

"What the development world didn't see coming was the mobile revolution, combined with the Web 2.0 social media revolution, and having an explosion in applications and services for civic technology, and e-government and open government," he said in an interview. "So they really woke up to that and created this new ICT strategy."

Vein's position is part of the change at the world bank -- his position stretching across the bank is a new one. He is one of two new technology managers at the bank who succeeded Philippe Dongier, who left the bank last year. Vein's other ICT sector manager colleague is Raneep Sudan, who's worked at the bank for a long time. He is the former CIO of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.

(hat tip to Alex Howard)

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