James Parks

Financial Advisor to the KRG Deputy Prime Minister

James Parks

Financial Advisor to the KRG Deputy Prime Minister


Work Experience

Senior Economic Advisor, Council of Ministers, Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG (January 2015 to present).  Senior advisor to KRG leadership on policy formulation, crisis management and economic reform.

Advisor to Vice President for Leadership, Learning and Innovation (LLI), World Bank (September 2013 to January 2015).  Advised LLI Vice President and WBG Senior Management Team member on implementation of the World Bank Group  (WBG) Strategy and Change agenda, designed to reposition the Institution as the go-to provider of development solutions for clients to eliminate extreme poverty and build shared prosperity.  Led development of the M&E framework for rollout of the Strategy and Change agenda.

Change Team, Office of the Senior Vice President, World Bank (January to September 2013).  Core team member responsible for preparing new corporate strategy for the World Bank Group and for operationalizing the new poverty and shared prosperity goals.  Lead author of the WBG Strategy endorsed by the Development Committee at the 2013 WB/IMF Annual Meetings.

Deputy Vice President, Department of Policy and Evaluation (DPE), Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC (October 2010 to December 2012).  Responsible for MCC’s strategy for policy and institutional reform as a corporate priority. Spearheaded efforts to strengthen policy reform in MCC Compact investment programs and redesign of MCC’s Threshold program to help candidate countries improve their eligibility for MCC Compacts.

Acting Vice President, DPE, October 2010 to January 2011, and again February through April, 2012. Responsible for numerous presentations to MCC Board chaired by the Secretary of State.

Acting Managing Director of Economic Analysis (EA) Division, November 2011 to December 2012. Led effort to improve integration of economic analysis into MCC decision-making at all levels including the agency-wide Investment Management Committee.  Recruited and managed team of 18 economists.  Led recruitment of new Managing Director for Economic Analysis and Chief Economist.

Represented MCC on numerous interagency teams chaired by the National Security Council.  Co-led launch in El Salvador of President Obama’s Partnership for Growth flagship initiative to improve development impact and interagency coordination of US foreign assistance.

Advisor, Office of the World Bank Managing Director, World Bank (August 2008 to October 2010).  Responsible for supporting the Bank’s global partnerships including the International Health Partnership, Innovative Financing for Health, Education for All – Fast Track Initiative, and the G20.  Attended all high-level G20 meetings (including Leaders Summits) with Managing Director Graeme Wheeler.  Spearheaded creation of the Health Systems for Outcomes program which revitalized the Bank’s engagement in Africa through the establishment of staff Hubs in Nairobi and Dakar.  Initiated scale-up of the Bank’s work in nutrition and social safety nets.  Led the effort to secure the Bank’s participation in the G20 framework for balanced growth and mutual assessment.  Helped prepare new Knowledge Strategy for the Bank.

World Bank Lead Economist and PREM Sector Leader for Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay (2004 to August 2008). Responsible for Bank’s economic work in the southern cone countries of Latin America.  Helped transform the problematic relationship with Argentina into one of the largest investment lending programs in the Bank.  Assured quality of lending and non-lending activities, led the policy dialogue, and managed strategy, work program and budget for poverty reduction and economic management (PREM) department in the southern cone.  Led country strategy formulation for the southern cone countries, positioning the Bank through clear strategic vision combined with rapid adaptation to changing country circumstances.

World Bank Lead Economist for Turkey based in Ankara (1999 to 2004).  Responsible for the Bank’s economic work on Turkey focused on recovery from the 1999 earthquake and the 2001 economic crisis.  Co-led the Assessment of the Marmara Earthquake and a $1 billion emergency assistance package from the Bank. Co-led preparation of the multi-billion dollar Programmatic Public and Financial Sector Adjustment Loans that helped Turkey recover from the 2001 economic crisis and embark on the longest period of sustained growth in its history.  Co-led country strategy preparation and oversaw numerous economic reports.

First World Bank Resident Representative in Moldova (1995 to 1999). Established the Bank office in Moldova during the period immediately following the Soviet Union’s collapse.  Managed dialogue with government, civil society and the donor community. Led country program including strategy formulation and policy dialogue focused on economic reform.  Recruited, managed and mentored local staff, and managed the resident office facilities. Led an Economic Review of Transnistria, the first-ever economic analysis of that separatist region.

Country Economist/Senior Country Economist for Algeria (1990 to 1994). Sustained the World Bank’s policy dialogue in Algeria during a period of intense civil conflict (1992-94).  Task managed economic reports and adjustment loans that assisted Algeria to restart economic reforms and reschedule its debt with the Paris and London Clubs in close collaboration with the IMF. Analyzed consumer subsidy and social safety net issues, and presented policy reform options to government, during World Bank missions to Iran and Egypt.

World Bank Economist (1988 to 1990). Applied computable general equilibrium (CGE) techniques to analyze inflation tax in Tunisia and repressed inflation in Algeria.  The Tunisia model underpinned the macroeconomic framework for the 1990 Country Economic report, and the Algeria model was used for the Bank’s regular macroeconomic projections.  Models transferred to counterparts in Tunisia and Algeria.  These models were peer reviewed by the Bank’s Development Economics department and the World Bank Chief Economist.

Research Associate and Teaching Assistant, Princeton (1987 to 1988). Researcher for Asian Development Bank-funded study of administrative decentralization in Nepal carried out by the Research Program in Development Studies at Princeton University. Taught recitation sessions for Statistics and Econometrics at Princeton University.

Peace Corps Volunteer, Nepal (1982 to 1984).  Taught math and science in a mountain village, which instilled a lifelong appreciation of the struggles poor people face.  My Peace Corps experience is the subject of a documentary film (“Jimisir – A Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal”) shown at fundraisers and educational events.

Software Engineer, Boston (1979 to 1982).  Managed a three-man engineering team designing LIFETRAC, a personal emergency response system sold by Lifeline Systems, Inc. Designed a computer graphics system to analyze and display electro-encephalograms at Tufts New England Medical Center. Designed software for atomic emission spectrometers used for analysis ranging from water quality tests to metal alloy production at Allied Analytical Systems, an industry leader with global sales including China.


Princeton University, University of Geneva, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Native English; Fluent French and Spanish; Working Romanian and Nepali; Basic Turkish, Russian and Kurdish


All session by James Parks

Economic Mosaic of Iraq

10:00 - 11:15
Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington D.C.