I’m very pleased to be in Los Angeles to open the graduation ceremony for the 9th cohort of Milken Capital Markets Scholars. We’re here today to recognize the achievements of 14 scholars who have for the past several months been immersed in a rigorous training program designed to improve their skills and knowledge to thrive in the ever-changing world of finance.
I’ve participated in previous groups of Milken Scholars, heard Michael Milken’s inspiring message, and watched the IFC-Milken program grow at George Washington University. It’s great to be here with Michael again to strengthen our commitment to this form of powerful exchange.
The World Bank Group is working to build platforms that connect educational institutions and people. These include this IFC Treasury program, a new World Bank Treasury program with the Milken Institute and the Bayes Business School at the City University of London, and the World Bank’s Africa Centers of Excellence, or ACE, projects. I recently visited Niger and Togo, and the University of Lomé. I was very proud to observe a signing of an MOU between the University of Lomé, where 70,000 students are studying practical skills, and Clark Atlanta University. It is a key part of the World Bank’s partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); and I know that Milken is expanding its relationships with HBCUs.
Let me turn to this program. Congratulations to the graduating cohort. As you all know, well-functioning financial markets are essential for vibrant economic growth. Capital markets provide an efficient way to channel international and domestic savings into productive economic needs. Yet capital markets remain underdeveloped in many countries due in part to lack of adequate capacity among market players.
This program is particularly valuable during times of financial stress. The crisis facing development centers on the ongoing misallocation of capital away from growth and development. The fragility of global credit markets is a principal topic of conversation at this year’s Global Conference.
This group of scholars today spans a range of development including financial managers from Zambia, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Egypt to name a few. The World Bank Group works in all these countries on a range of disciplines to strengthen growth and stability. These are priorities of the World Bank Group.
I know many of you work in central banks. Sound growth and investment policies to avoid monetizing fiscal deficits and achieve unified, stable market-based currencies are a necessary condition for development and our twin goals of sustainable poverty alleviation and shared prosperity.
With that, congratulations on completing the program! I know you are even better equipped to take on new challenges and contribute to the development of your local economies.
The alumni network is a powerful tool that will help you to stay connected, share knowledge and expertise, and access new opportunities. The program will also continue to offer you opportunities to learn and connect with fellow alumni.
I wish you all the best as you move forward in your careers, and I look forward to seeing the impact that you will make in the years to come.