Investing in Human Capital, Creating Positive Impact Is Essential to Economic Growth

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

October 31, 2018

milke milken

GW President Thomas LeBlanc, Chairman of the Milken Institute Mike Milken, Dean of the GW School of Business Anuj Mehrotra and other officials pose with the 2018-19 IFC-Milken Institute Fellows.

Giving all people with ability and determination the chance to succeed, regardless of where they come from, is the key to global prosperity, said Mike Milken at the third annual Capital Markets Program luncheon.

As technology improves and population centers shift away from the United States and Europe, the future of the planet is going to be highly dependent on providing opportunity and investing in human capital in developing markets—the new hubs of growth.

“If we don’t create access to capital and free markets for the parts of the world where population is growing, then we will have a difficult world, not just for a country in West Africa or South Asia, but for the world itself,” said Mike Milken, Chairman of the Milken Institute.

Mike Milken, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Chief Operating Officer Stephanie von Friedeburg, Dean of the GW School of Business Anuj Mehrotra and more than 80 other leaders from academia and the financial and development industries gathered at the Milken Institute School of Public Health to celebrate the Capital Markets Program, a joint endeavor by the GW School of Business, the IFC and the Milken Institute.

The eight-month program aims to bridge the opportunity gap for mid-career professionals from financial and regulatory institutions across developing and emerging economies and to provide them with technical expertise as well as hands-on exposure in capital markets. Strong capital markets are an essential component to creating prosperous societies.

In the third year of the program, the 2018-19 cohort comprises 22 IFC-Milken Institute Fellows from 17 countries in Africa and Asia. This brings the program’s coverage to 61 fellows and alumni from 29 countries, many of whom will be reuniting in Kenya next month for their first alumni retreat.

The Capital Markets Program is committed to supporting fellows throughout their career, Mike Milken said. The world is dependent on them to create opportunities for a growing population of innovators and entrepreneurs. The program aims to reach more regions and hundreds of fellows in the coming years.

Dr. Mehrotra said the Capital Markets Program is a one-of-a-kind collaboration that makes him proud to lead the GWSB. Everyone involved in the program has a palpable passion for its mission, he said.

“This is such an impactful program, and congratulations to the fellows on being selected for it.” he said. “You are taking time away from your families here, but I’m sure it will be worth it.”

Today’s emerging market leaders need to create the foundations of social capital in order to retain talent and build a brighter future. Without factors like a strong education system, rule of law and access to health care, the best minds will leave their home countries to seek out opportunities abroad. It’s also a challenge for emerging markets to attract capital if there is not faith that today’s rules will be upheld tomorrow.

Mike Milken has striven to understand the role of social capital and how strong leadership can make a difference in both shaping governance and transforming a company. In just five years, the right leader can turn a company around—and a bad one can tank it.

Most importantly, creating positive impact should be a core mission of any business, Mike Milken said. Today, the world is more connected than ever, and news travels fast in the digital age. If you focus on “doing good” your business will grow, he said.

“If you’re in a business that might not have any socially redeeming qualities, you can assume there will be some movement, whether it’s in your city or country or the world, against what you’re doing,” Mike Milken said.

The event included two panel discussions. In addition to leaders from the Milken Institute and IFC, the first panel brought together the CEOs and founders of the Carlyle Group, the RockCreek Group and Calvert Research & Management around a conversation on investing and managing risk in emerging markets and frontier economies. The second panel featured IFC-Milken Institute Fellows who described the value of their experiences in Washington, D.C., debated preconceptions about their home countries and shared their plans for driving growth in the future.