Sevi Simavi


Sevi Simavi is a global executive, thought leader and author on women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a not for profit organization that has provided over 100,000 women entrepreneurs in 80 countries with skills, technology, networks and access to capital they need to become successful small and growing business owners. She is overseeing the next stage of growth and impact of the Foundation and building high-level partnerships to implement the Foundation’s next 5 year strategy.

Sevi has over fifteen years of global public policy and financial sector development experience gained in over 50 countries across the globe through her work at the World Bank Group and the private sector. At the World Bank Group, she initiated and scaled up innovative programs, products and business functions from ground up, impacting the lives of over a billion people. She has advised governments, central banks and non-governmental institutions around the globe on business enabling environment, access to finance for SMEs, financial inclusion, women’s economic empowerment and South-South knowledge exchange.

Sevi has enormous passion for understanding complexities and demystifying them for broader audiences. She is best known for her work and book Gender Dimensions of Investment Climate Reform, a step-by-step framework for development practitioners to address business women’s specific challenges and ensure their voices are taken into account in government policy making. She also developed a Primer and a training program to foster effective and results-focused South-South knowledge exchange initiatives among developing countries, which has been translated into 5 languages.

She initiated and brought to scale World Bank Group’s first ever advisory offering on secured financing to enable access to credit for SMEs. Sevi has advised the Central Bank, National Congress, and leading financial institutions in China, Vietnam, Nepal, Senegal and Ghana to design and enact secured transactions laws and institutions.

Sevi serves as the co-chair of the Women and Technology subcommittee of the International Business Women’s Leadership Council, set up by Hillary Clinton. She has published extensively on women’s economic empowerment, access to finance and business enabling environment and is a frequent speaker at international conferences.

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Angela Brugioni