Irene Arias is the CEO / Manager of BID-Lab, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). BID-Lab invests in early stage ventures, helps to develop innovation ecosystems and supports projects to test pioneering approaches that create economic opportunities for poor and vulnerable populations in the Latin America and Caribbean Region.
Until December 2017, she was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Finance Corporation (IFC). IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector (www.ifc.org). Irene had P&L responsibility for the region and was IFC’s main counterpart and peer to CEOs/key Ministers in the region. She managed a US$5.5 billion annual investment program and a US$16 billion portfolio, the largest in IFC, with 300 staff over 13 offices covering over 450 clients, and with a strong focus on innovation, risk capital and fintech.
In her previous role as Global Director for Financial Institutions, Arias led IFC’s financial institutions’ strategy globally, overseeing an investment program of over US$6 billion per year across emerging markets and a US$15 billion portfolio, including US$4 billion in private equity. She led IFC’s FinTech strategy and pioneered innovative local capital markets offerings including local currency solutions for debt and quasi-equity, new asset classes (e.g., green bonds) and taking first time issuers to market. She managed a team of 461 investment professionals across all regions with a focus on active talent management.
Arias joined IFC in 2001 and since then she has been managing high profile investment projects primarily in the financial sector across the world, from Sub-Saharan Africa, to the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean. She was part of core IFC group that developed IFC's Asset Management Company (AMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IFC which manages over US$9 billion of capital across six investment funds.
Arias, a Spanish national, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Carlos III University in Madrid, an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC, and an M.A. in Advanced European Studies from the College of Europe. She is a CFA Charterholder.