Belai Abbai, World Bank economist

February 27, 2013

Belai Abbai, 85, a senior agricultural economist with the World Bank who retired in the early 1990s, died of lung cancer Feb. 16 at the Washington Home and Community Hospice in the District.

His son, Yared Belai, confirmed the death.

Mr. Abbai joined the World Bank in Washington in 1976. In retirement, he continued to do consulting for the bank.

Belai Abbai, who lived in Washington, was born in Adwa, Ethiopia. He graduated from Southampton University in England and received a master’s degree in developmental economics from Harvard University in the early 1960s.

He was an economist with the Ethiopian government and with the United Nations before relocating to Washington in 1976.

His marriages to Negist Zewdu and Dr. Fisseha Tekle-Wold ended in divorce.

Survivors include a daughter from his first marriage, Axum Belai of Washington; and three sons from his second marriage, Caleb Belai of Bethesda, Abbai Belai of London and Yared Belai of Washington.

— Bart Barnes

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