ISTANBUL –Kemal Dervis, former UNDP Chief and prominent figure in international development, has passed away. Reports confirm the passing of Kemal Dervis, a renowned Turkish economist, politician, and former head of the UNDP.
He passed away on Monday at the age of 74, as confirmed by various Turkish news outlets.
Dervis was being treated for an undisclosed illness in Washington D.C. The news was initially reported by t24 and later confirmed by the state-run Anadolu Agency and BBC Turkish.
In 2001, during Turkey’s economic crisis, Dervis joined the government under then-Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. He left his long-term position at the World Bank to do so.
At the time, Turkey was grappling with skyrocketing inflation and a stock market collapse.
Serving as the Minister of Economic Affairs, Dervis played a pivotal role in implementing a successful three-year economic recovery plan, which entailed significant structural alterations and banking reforms.
Dervis was also instrumental in securing loans from the International Monetary Fund. Although initially an unpopular decision due to the necessary drastic spending cuts, this move ultimately facilitated the swift resumption of economic growth in 2002 and a substantial decrease in inflation by 2003.
Former UNDP Chief Kemal Dervis Dies at 72
Dervis resigned from his ministerial role in August 2002. Dervis became a Member of Parliament for the opposition CHP in the 2002 general elections. In 2005, the UN Development Program unanimously approved him as their administrator, the third highest post in the UN hierarchy.
After serving a four-year term, he chose not to pursue a second term in 2009.
Dervis’ passing was met with profound grief. Academic and Sabancı University finance chair, Ozgur Demirtas, tweeted, “I learned of Kemal Dervis’ passing with great sadness. He was an instrumental economist and minister…Condolences.” Ali Babacan, a former minister, and current opposition politician, expressed his sadness over the loss of Dervis, whom he deeply admired.
Related: United Nations DevelopmentProgramme
Born on January 10, 1949, Dervis had bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the London School of Economics (1968 and 1970) and a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1973. He contributed to several books on economics, including “Inequality in America” (2012) and “Recovery from the Crisis and Contemporary Social Democracy” (2006). Kemal Dervis’s legacy and contributions to the world of development will inspire future generations.