Dr. Jennifer Isern, Practice Manager, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation (FCI), East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank Group, brings 30 years of experience in development in more than 65 countries. Since January 2018, she manages the East Asia and Pacific team to develop the financial sector and private sector, with a focus on the IFC portfolio. FCI is a joint practice of IFC and the World Bank. Broadly, the team aims to crowd in the private sector, support the creation of markets, and accelerate equitable growth. For the financial sector, this includes financial sector stability, financial infrastructure, responsible access to finance for households and SMEs, capital markets, and green finance. For the private sector, the team focuses on industry solutions such as tourism and agribusiness promotion, SME development, and innovation.
From 2016-2017, she led the joint World Bank-IFC team for Finance and Markets Practice across Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Pacific. In 2014-2016, Dr. Isern managed the pan-Asia team of Finance and Markets Practice, focusing on the IFC portfolio. From 2009-2014, she served as Regional Manager for Access to Finance Advisory for IFC in South Asia. Previously, Dr. Isern worked as Lead Microfinance Specialist at CGAP from 1996 to 2009, where she served as member of the senior management team, manager for CGAP's work in Africa and China, and manager of CGAP's network of regional representatives globally. She led several CGAP global initiatives on payments, anti-money laundering, appraising, funding and capacity building for microfinance institutions, and African financial sector development. Prior to joining CGAP, Dr. Isern was the Regional Technical Adviser for economic development in West and Central Africa with CARE International, and she founded and managed microfinance institutions while living in Niger (1990-91), and Togo (1992-1996).
From 1988-1992, Dr. Isern consulted with public and private sector clients including USAID in Costa Rica and Senegal, UNDP in New York, and AT&T’s international division. She has authored more than 50 publications on financial sector development and broader development issues. A CFA charterholder, Dr. Isern received her bachelor's degree from the University of Montana, her master’s degree in development economics from Princeton University, and her doctorate in both finance and international business from Nova Southeastern University.