Olakunle (Kay) Atanda currently leads the Small States program in the Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) unit, supporting countries highly vulnerable to climate and economic shocks. Previously, he was Strategy and Operations Officer in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice, collaborating with governments to collect, measure, and analyze data to inform pro-poor policies. Since joining the World Bank, he has worked on a number of sustainable development issues including women's economic empowerment and UN partnerships, leading the joint World Bank-UN Blue Economy report in 2017. He has played an active role in advancing the inclusion agenda serving as a founding member of the World Bank's Anti-Racism Task Force and Mental Health Steering Committee. He received the 2023 Excellence in Leadership Award.
Before joining the World Bank, Kay worked on sustainable development policies at the UN, raising awareness about urgent global emergencies like Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and he also worked on drug policy during his time in the Obama White House.
Kay holds a bachelor’s in political science and public policy from the City College of New York and a master’s in foreign policy and human rights from Columbia University. He is an Eisenhower Global Scholar at the Blavatnik School of Government and Wendell Herbruck Scholar at Queen’s College, both within the University of Oxford.