Welcome to the Next Generation of Capital-Market Leaders!
Thursday evening, in the heart of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the CEO of the Milken Institute, the director for treasury client solutions of the International Finance Corporation, and the dean of The George Washington University School of Business raised a toast to an exceptional group of young men and women: the IFC-Milken Institute Fellows.
These 18 talented professionals have been nominated by their employers and competitively selected across 12 developing and emerging economies to be the next capital-market leaders in their regions. They have joined us here in D.C. from central banks, finance ministries, stock exchanges, and capital-market authorities across Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, the Gambia, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Uganda, and Zambia. The private sector is expanding faster than ever in all of these countries. This can be a driving force for growth, provided that capital markets are well-structured and regulated to grant local populations sufficient access to capital and diverse opportunities for long-term investment and innovation.
The IFC-MI Fellows are joining us because they believe in helping to unlock these opportunities and making capital markets work better for shared prosperity in their home countries. This commitment and vision was evident in their lively discussions last night. The importance of strong human capital as a foundation for financial-market development is often underestimated—but not by these Fellows and their governments. Capital markets crucially need reliable regulation and enabling laws; and these can only be properly designed and enforced by people who have a clear understanding of private-sector behavior, are armed with sufficient legal and financial training, and know how to apply economic theory and quantitative tools to “real life” situations in which risks must be assessed and decisions made.
To acquire this comprehensive toolkit, on Monday the IFC-MI Fellows embark on a unique, graduate-level certificate program: the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program at The George Washington University. This is a first-of-its-kind partnership among three internationally reputed institutions. It combines rigorous coursework with a work-placement opportunity, as well as case studies and a prestigious Speaker Series designed for practitioners. With a focus on Africa for its first year, the program will rapidly expand to other regions. By actively participating in the program and staying connected to its alumni network once they have returned home, the IFC-MI Fellows are planting the seeds for robust capital markets and a healthy business environment in the youngest and fastest-growing parts of the world.