The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) has appointed Elena Palei as its new European regional head.

In an exclusive conversation, she tells GTR that infrastructure investment, including power, will be a strategic focus for the agency going forward, with Africa expected to take centre stage.

“Miga products are going to be relevant in attracting investments and funding into Africa, particularly in countries that are undergoing large-scale infrastructure and energy sector reforms such as Angola, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon,” she says.

“Investments into North Africa are also a priority: in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, for example. There are also important opportunities for Miga to support Europe-based companies and banks expand into Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe.”

Palei has worked at the agency since 2000 and has gained extensive experience working on complex transactions across the globe. In her previous role of senior underwriter, she led teams on a number of high-profile project and trade transactions.

“I have completed a good number of transactions such as the NT2 hydro project in Laos, Autopistas del Sol in Costa Rica, and the Cambambe hydro project in Angola,” she tells GTR. “Other examples of my successfully completed projects include the Starhydro project in Pakistan and the Apache oil and gas project in Egypt.”

Palei confirms to GTR she is replacing Olivier Lambert in the role, who returns to work at Miga’s Washington headquarters. Palei will report directly to the agency’s director of operations, Edith Quintrell, who is responsible for business development and guarantee underwriting.

Commenting on Palei’s appointment, executive vice-president at Miga, Keiko Honda, says: “Elena’s combination of experience in development finance and her client-orientation makes her a strong leader of our Europe, Middle East and Africa team.”