Formerly CEO of Investisseurs & Partenaires between 2011 and 2021, Jean-Michel Severino is now Chairman of the Supervisory Board of I&P. This board is also composed of Olivier Lafourcade (long-time advisor and minority shareholder of I&P) and Bagoré Bathily (founder and CEO of Laiterie du Berger in Senegal, one of I&P's first portfolio companies).
Ever since he joined I&P, Jean-Michel Severino has dedicated his attention to the emerging field of impact investing in order to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This choice is inscribed in a career essentially focused on international development and its financing : Jean-Michel Severino has notably served as Vice-President for Asia at the World Bank (1997-2001) and as Director General of the French Development Agency (2001-2010).
Jean-Michel Severino was born on September 6th 1957 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and the Sorbonne University (bachelor of laws) in 1978, Jean-Michel Severino studied advanced economics. He then entered the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, from which he graduated in 1984. Jean-Michel Severino started his career as Inspector of finances at the French Ministry of economy and finances. In 1988, his interest for development led him to the Cabinet of the Minister of cooperation and development Jacques Pelletier as a technical adviser. In this ministry, he occupied successively the post of Chief of geographic coordination (1990-94) and the post of Director of development (1994-96), where he advised the French government on supporting the democratization processes in Africa, and prepared and managed the devaluation of the CFA franc.
Jean-Michel Severino then joined the World Bank as director for Central Europe (1996-97). He became Vice President for Asia in 1997, shortly before the beginning of the Asian financial crisis, which he managed at the Bank in accompaniment of the IMF programmes. In 2000, Jean-Michel Severino came back shortly at the Ministry of economy and finances as General inspector of finances. He wrote that year a book on globalization with Jean-Louis Bianco, « Un autre monde est possible », at the Jean-Jaurès foundation.
He was nominated director general of the AFD in 2001. His three-year term was renewed in 2004 and 2007. He helped establish the AFD as France’s international development bank, notably by increasing its activity and broadening its mandate to include many other countries as well as to the whole spectrum of global contemporary issues: climate, biodiversity, poverty, conflict, growth...
The AFD is a financial institution at the heart of the French system of official development assistance. The AFD supports the public and private spheres as well as associative networks. Its aim is to implement economic and social projects in more than 60 countries on all continents and in overseas France. Its action for development is guided by the millennium development goals of the United Nations and the imperative of environmental sustainability.
At the same time, he contributed to the High-Level Expert Panel on the System-Wide Coherence of the United Nations in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and environment, and is part of the Commission on the "White book" on France's foreign and European policy. He left the AFD in April 2010 to join the Inspection Générale des finances at the French Ministry of economy and finances.
In May 2011, he succeeded Patrice Hoppenot as CEO of “Investisseurs et Partenaires” (I&P). This impact investment group provides financial and managerial support for medium-sized companies and microfinance institutions in Africa (mainly Western and Central Africa) – organisations which cannot access bank financing and for whom microcredit is insufficient. Its interventions take the form of equity investments and, in some cases, loans. It is specialized in risk capital with social and environmental impacts.
Jean-Michel Severino is a member of the boards of CFAO, Ecobank International, France Telecom and Danone, which audit committee he chairs. He sat at European Investment Bank's board until January 2011. He chairs the board of Convergences, a major gathering of European stakeholders around social business, private-public sector partnership and Millenium Development Goals, and is a senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund and FERDI. He also chairs the board of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. He has had over the years important activities in the academic community, NGOs and foundations.
He was elected member of the Academy of Technology in March 2010. He is a Knight of the French "Legion of Honor", Officer of the Order of Merit, and holds many international awards, from Asia and Africa.
• Le Grand Basculement, ou la question sociale au XXIème siècle, a book written with Olivier Ray, published in French on Octobre 6, 2011 by Odile Jacob editors (Paris).
• Le Temps de l’Afrique, a book written with Olivier Ray, published in French on March 18, 2010 by Odile Jacob editors (Paris).
• Idées Reçues sur l’Aide au Développement, a book written with Jean-Michel Debrat, published in January 2010 by Le Cavalier Bleu editors (Paris).
• Development beyond 2015, Op-Ed distributed by Project Syndicate, October 2008.
• Heart of darkness, Op-Ed signed with Donald Kaberuka, published in Emerging Markets - 12 October 2008.