CGAP CEO Littlefield to Head Overseas Private Investment Corporation

24 June 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jeanette Thomas
jthomas1@worldbank.org  
+1 202 744-4829


WASHINGTON DC, 24 June 2010 – The Senate has confirmed the appointment of former CGAP CEO Elizabeth Littlefield to head the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Ms. Littlefield will be sworn in as OPIC President and CEO on Friday, June 25. OPIC (www.opic.gov) is a US Government agency that fosters economic and social development by financing US private sector investment in sustainable development abroad.

Working in over 150 countries, and with a portfolio of US$ 13 billion, OPIC provides insurance, lending, and other financial products in such areas as renewable energy, telecommunications, power, and small and microenterprise. Ms Littlefield first joined CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) in 2000. Before then she worked with JP Morgan, where she was the Managing Director in charge of JP Morgan’s Emerging Markets Capital Markets Division. As such, she oversaw JP Morgan’s capital markets business in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa.

In parallel to her career in investment banking, Ms. Littlefield also spent a year and a half providing guidance to several start-up microfinance institutions in West and Central Africa, and in Pakistan. Under Ms. Littlefield’s leadership, CGAP established a reputation as a thought leader and knowledge center, offering research and expertise that has helped shape the microfinance industry as it has grown and flourished over the past years. “It’s been a remarkable decade for microfinance and I am proud of what CGAP has accomplished in that time,” said Littlefield. “Microfinance has captured the imaginations, and entered the hearts, of many. For me, it has been a privilege to lead CGAP and to work in partnership with so many remarkable people and organizations to help build an industry that is robust, innovative, and truly dedicated to serving poor clients.”

Over the past few decades microfinance has developed from a cottage industry run by development specialists into a global business. CGAP has been credited with playing a pivotal role in this transformation, helping to build an industry that today offers financial services on a sustainable basis to millions of poor people around the world. With Ms Littlefield at its helm, CGAP has been a leading voice advocating on behalf of low income people, and it has helped to professionalize the industry by building transparency and standards for good practice while also promoting responsible financial inclusion. The organization has been at the forefront of innovations such as mobile banking, and new models to reach those living in extreme poverty. Working closely with policymakers, CGAP has helped advance understanding of how financial stability, financial inclusion, and protecting clients can be mutually reinforcing--and achievable—goals.

Alongside her work with CGAP, Littlefield has also served on the executive board of several organizations including Women’s World Banking, Profund, Africa International Financial Holding, the Mastercard Foundation, the Calvert Foundation, and E&Co.

 

About CGAP
CGAP is an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world's poor. It is supported by over 30 development agencies and private foundations who share a common mission to alleviate poverty. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP provides market intelligence, promotes standards, develops innovative solutions, and offers advisory services to governments, microfinance providers, donors, and investors. CGAP works toward a world in which poor people are considered valued clients of their country’s financial system. We aim to help build efficient and equitable local financial markets that serve all poor people with convenient and affordable financial services.