Elizabeth L. Littlefield was appointed by President Obama as the President and CEO of OPIC, an Under Secretary level position. OPIC, as the US Government’s Development Finance Institution, operates in 102 countries and manages an $18 bn portfolio of financing and insurance to support private investment in sustainable economic development, especially in the world’s poorest countries. Under Littlefield’s leadership, OPIC’s annual commitments to renewable resources projects grew ten-fold in three years to $1.5 billion, while generating increasing income for the federal budget – a number that reached $426 million in 2013. She has also instituted major reforms of the agency’s policies, systems and processes and introduced new financial innovations to augment the agency’s development impact. Ms. Littlefield has been appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the White House Development Council and the President’s Export Council. Ms. Littlefield was presented in 2012 with the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, the highest award in the Foreign Service, by Secretary Hillary Clinton.
From 2000 until 2010 Ms. Littlefield was Chief Executive Officer of CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a policy and research center dedicated to advancing poor people’s access to financial services. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP develops innovative solutions, promotes industry standards, provides market intelligence and data, and advises governments, financial institutions and investors. During that time Ms. Littlefield also served as a Director for the World Bank’s Financial & Private Sector division.
Prior to joining CGAP in 1999, Ms. Littlefield was JP Morgan’s Managing Director in charge of capital markets and financing in emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her responsibilities encompassed public and private financings for governments, corporations and banks, and related advisory work. In that role, she led the inaugural bond issues for the majority of the countries that tapped the markets for the first time in the 1990s. Just prior, she set up JPM’s emerging markets debt trading department in London and was Head Debt Trader for Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. She also served as a Director in JPM’s Paris office, among other positions.
Ms. Littlefield has served on the Boards and Executive Committees of the MasterCard Foundation, Calvert Foundation and Women’s World Banking, among others. She was a founder of the Emerging Markets Charity in the UK. She currently serves on the President’s Export Cabinet, is the Chairperson of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Littlefield also spent 1989 – 1990 in West and Central Africa providing banking consultancy to several start-up microfinance institutions.
Ms Littlefield taught Financial Sector Development as an Adjunct Professor in the Masters Program at the School of Advanced International Studies (S.A.I.S.). She is a graduate of Brown University and also attended Ecole Nationale de Sciences Politiques in Paris.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds. It operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.