Capital Markets Luncheon Celebrates Investments in Human Capital

The IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program at GW provides mid-career financial professionals from developing and emerging economies with skills to grow their markets and foster global prosperity.

2019 Capital Markets Program Scholars panel
2019 IFC-Milken Institute Scholars from left Anthony Murimi, Obiageri Christiana Ndukwe and Tsametse Mmolai discussed how capital markets could empower livelihoods for women in Africa. (Photo: Darcy Troutman)
November 06, 2019

Creating meaningful lives and building prosperous communities—depends on giving people all over the world the ability to succeed regardless of their backgrounds, said financier and philanthropist Mike Milken at the fourth annual Capital Markets Program luncheon.

He predicted that if current global birth and life expectancy rates persist, the world’s population will grow to 21 billion by the year 2100, with the most populous countries being Nigeria and the Congo.

“Billions of additional people will be with us as this century unfolds,” Mike Milken said. “What are they going to be doing?”

As population declines in the United States and Europe and increases in Africa and South Asia, he said, the global economy will become more dependent on the countries where the most people will live, and now is the time to prepare the citizens of those nations for future markets.

“The world's largest asset is human capital,” he said. “If we don't make opportunities for the people in South Asia or sub-Sahara Africa, it won't really make much difference what's occurring in the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea or maybe even China.”

Mike Milken, George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Vice President and Treasurer John Gandolfo, World Bank Vice President and Treasurer Jingdong Hua and other leaders in finance and development gathered at the Milken Institute School of Public Health Wednesday to celebrate the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program.

The eight-month graduate-level certificate program is a joint effort of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group focused on the private sector in emerging markets, the Milken Institute and the GW School of Business. It aims to provide mid-career professionals from financial and regulatory institutions across developing and emerging economies with technical expertise as well as hands-on exposure in capital markets. Scholars complete a semester of accredited coursework at GW, followed by internships in the U.S. financial industry. The program is building a network of capital markets champions across developing and emerging economies who can return to their home countries to strengthen their countries’ markets while exploring innovative solutions to pressing social and economic challenges.

This year’s 23 IFC-Milken Institute Scholars, half of whom are women, represented 18 countries in Africa and Asia. The event brought together over 50 high-level guests from the diplomatic community, philanthropy and the private sector to meet with the Scholars—including Capital Markets Program internship providers such as Duff & Phelps, GoldenTree Asset Management, the Harbor Bank of Maryland and Värde Partners.

The event was moderated by Johanna Lincoln, who directs the Capital Markets Program for the IFC and included two panel discussions. Megan McDonald, head of international investment banking at Standard Bank, and Paul Leder, a senior fellow with the Milken Institute’s Global Market Development practice and former director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, joined Dr. LeBlanc and Mr. Gandolfo in the first panel for a conversation about how well-functioning capital markets could drive progress toward the sustainable development goals. Carole Biau, who directs the program for the Milken Institute and moderated the conversation, encouraged the panelists to explore how the scholars themselves could help to make capital markets work better for long-term growth and shared prosperity.

Capital Markets Program 2019

This year’s 23 IFC-Milken Institute Scholars, half of whom are women, represented 18 countries in Africa and Asia.

The second panel featured several of the program’s scholars who spoke with Mike Milken about challenges and opportunities in their countries’ economies and their plans to drive growth when they return.

Tsametse Mmolai, an IFC-Milken Institute Scholar from the Botswana Stock Exchange, said that as his country’s government tries to raise funds to expand domestically generated electricity and lessen dependence on power imports from South Africa, he hopes that capital markets can help finance innovative projects in the energy sector.

“Given the scope of [Botswana’s] land size and the fact we have exposure to sunlight more than most countries, it would be wise of us to explore solar power,” he said.

He said he also hopes to use the skills he learned from the Capital Markets Program to create an underwriting fund to increase capital mobility for small and large business enterprises in Botswana, as bank funding in the country tends to favor large companies.

Obiageri Ndukwe, and IFC-Milken Institute Scholar from the Central Bank of Nigeria, highlighted the potential for capital markets to empower and create better livelihoods for women in Africa. She noted that greater access to finance could create a springboard for women to start businesses, invest in the future of their families and shape their own careers.

Mike Milken said the world is dependent on the Capital Markets Program Scholars becoming experts in different forms of financial technology and structuring deals in the 21st century to achieve a global dream of well-functioning capital markets, global economic transformation, job opportunities and meeting demographic challenges through sustainable development.

“We are all dependent on those [scholars] in this class to figure out how to create opportunities and financial mechanisms for their citizens in the future,” he said. “We can’t wait to see what [they are] able to accomplish.”


Learning & Research


Transforming Financial Markets in Developing Countries

September 01, 2017

International fellows begin the second year of the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program at the George Washington University.

Need for Opportunity in Africa Highlighted at Capital Markets Program Lunch

September 26, 2016
The Capital Markets Program aims to provide finance professionals from developing nations with skills to advance their economies.

GW, IFC and the Milken Institute Launch Capital Markets Program

May 03, 2016
The graduate certificate is aimed at practitioners in developing economies.