American University of Beirut

Nemat Shafik

A respected economist, erudite scholar, author, and revered international figure, Dr. Nemat Shafik is described as a global citizen with a global reputation in fields ranging from emerging markets and international development to the financial sector. 

Shafik is a national of Egypt, the US, and the UK. She was born in Alexandria, Egypt and fled with her family for the US in the 1960s to return when she was a teenager and later graduate from Schutz American School.  

After a year at the American University in Cairo, she went to the University of MassachusettsAmherst where she received her bachelor’s degree in economics and politics in 1983, followed by two years of development work for the US Agency for International Development office in Cairo and a subsequent master’s in economics from the London School of Economics in 1986. She then joined Oxford University, where she obtained her doctor of philosophy (DPhil) degree in economics from St. Antony’s College in 1989.  

In 1990, she joined the World Bank in Washington, becoming its youngest vice president at the age of 36. Shafik improved the performance of the private sector and the infrastructure portfolio of investments worth approximately $50 billion. She managed global groups to provide both policy advice, debt, and equity investments jointly with the International Finance Corporation in the areas of oil, gas and mining, telecommunications, small and medium enterprises, project finance, and guarantees. 

 In 2004, she joined the UK governmental Department for International Development (DFID), responsible for administering overseas aid, and served as its permanent secretary between 2008 and 2011. In 2011, Shafik became deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), responsible for IMF’s work in Europe and the Middle East, its $1 billion administrative budget, its training and technical assistance on a variety of macroeconomic and financial stability issues, and human resources policies for 3,000 staff. When she left the IMF, Managing Director Christine Lagarde praised “her broad command of policy issues, her superb leadership and communication skills, and her global reputation.” 

She assumed the post of deputy governor, responsible for markets and banking at the Bank of England in 2014 and handled, among other duties, reshaping the bank’s operations and balance sheet of over £500 billion and overseeing the high-value payments system, including market intelligence and reform. Shafik was one of only two women on the bank’s nine-member Monetary Policy Committee which sets interest rates. She also sat on the Financial Policy Committee, the Bank’s Court of Directors, and the Board of the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said of Shafik: “She has overseen a transformation in how we manage our balance sheet and is modernizing our high-value payments system. This has been alongside the invaluable insight she brings to all three main policy committees of the Bank and the inspirational leadership she gives to her colleagues. In her work and by her example, she leaves an important legacy.” 

In September 2017, Shafik became the first woman director of the London School of Economics (LSE). 

She has authored, edited, and co-authored a number of books and articles on a wide variety of economic topics.  She chaired six international consultative groups and served on seven boards on a wide range of sectors and issues. She has held academic appointments at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Economics Department at Georgetown University. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the British Museum in January 2016 for a four-year term.

Known as the “sheriff of the markets,” Shafik became the highest new UK entry in Forbes magazine’s Power Women’s List and was featured number 66 on the list in 2015. She was dubbed “Woman of the Year” at the GG2 awards for Global Leadership and Global Diversity. 

She was awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Reading, and Glasgow and made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015, entitling her to use “Dame” in front of her name. In January 2017, she was awarded the British Muslim Awards (BMA) Leader in Finance. 

Dr. Nemat Shafik married Dr. Raffael Jovine in 2002. The couple have twins, in addition to Jovine’s three children. 

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