Frannie Leautier Biography - Life, Career, Honors, Awards & More

Frannie Leautier Biography -Life, Career, Honors, Awards & More

Frannie Leautier is a Tanzanian academic, civil engineer, and international finance and development consultant. She helps and leads organisations in the public, private, and non-profit areas to flourish in emerging and advanced economies.

Frannie Léautier Early Life

Frannie Leautier was born in Moshi, in the Kilimanjaro Region of northern Tanzania. She has six siblings – three brothers and three sisters. Her family moved to Lushoto, a town located in the Usambara Mountains, at the age of three. While growing up there, her grandfather had a great influence on her. He inspired young Leautier to study engineering and physics.

Frannie Leautier studied at the University of Dar es Salaam and graduated in 1984 with a BSc in Civil Engineering. She furthered her studies at MIT, where she earned an MSc in Transportation. She graduated in 1986 and followed it up with a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, starting in 1987 and graduating in 1990.


Frannie Leautier had a non-permanent stint with the World Bank Group in 1992, helping with the strategy for infrastructure in the 1990s. She joined the World Bank fully in 1994. She worked in Washington DC for the next one and a half decades. During this time, she had several roles, including serving as the Director of Infrastructure for one year in 2000. In the 12 months that followed (in 2001), she served as the Chief of Staff to the President of the World Bank, Sir James David Wolfensohn. For the last six years of her time at the World Bank (2001 to 2007), Leautier headed the World Bank Institute.

After her departure from the World Bank, Frannie Leautier worked as the Managing Partner of the Fezembat Group, a consultancy partnership she co-founded, between 2007 and 2009. The firm is based in Castelnau de Montmiral, France.

Between July 2009 and November 2013, Frannie Leautier moved to the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, where she worked as the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation. At the same time, she worked as a Distinguished Professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies from 2007 to December 2013.

Frannie Leautier had a stint at the African Development Bank, where she served as Senior VP. Subsequently, she moved to the Trade and Development Bank in Nairobi, Kenya, as its Chief Operation Officer in July 2018. She rose to the position of Executive Director of the Bank’s Asset Management department in 2019. The SouthBridge Group informed the public that Leautier was appointed as a senior partner in May 2020. Before this appointment, she had successfully served as the Chairman of the Risk and Audit Committee of the Group and as a non-executive board member. In her new position, Leautier is in charge of developing new business and pursuing the Group’s ambitious growth policy in markets with a high need for advisory services. She is also expected to take on the responsibility for investment activities.

Other Activities

Frannie Leautier serves/served as a board member of many international and regional organisations, including:

  • African Risk Capacity as the Chairperson of the Risk & Audit Committee (since 2018)
  • Member of the World Future Council (since 2019)
  • Member of the Board of the United Nations Foundation
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Security Studies
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Orca Exploration Group Incorporated
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the African Culture Fund
  • Ex-member of the Board of Trustees of the Women’s World Banking
  • A foundation member of the Journal of Infrastructure Systems
  • Ex-member of the Board of Trustees of King Baudouin Foundation
  • Visiting Committee Member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corp.
  • A founding member of the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology
  • Member of the Global Advisory Council of the Institute for Integrated Transitions
  • Founding Board Member of the Uongozi Institute
  • Director at Large and Treasurer of the African Economic Research Consortium
  • Member of the Regional Advisory Group for Africa of the WEF
  • Commissioner on the Economy and Climate – New Climate Economy

Awards and Honours

In 2019, Frannie Leautier was a recipient of an Honourary Doctorate in Law from Lancaster University, UK, in recognition of her work in infrastructure globally. She holds an Honourary Degree in Humane Letters from North Central College, Illinois, in recognition of her contributions to Africa.

Apart from winning many awards, including ‘Best Manager’ and awards for excellence during her time at the World Bank Group, Frannie Leautier was featured regularly in the New African Magazine’s list of 100 most influential individuals in Africa. She got the title of ‘Nkosuohemaa,’ which translates to ‘queen of development in Ahanta. The Agona people gave her the title for her work in Ghana. Recently, she was recognised in the maiden volume of a book on African Women of Worth.

Academia and Publications

Frannie Leautier is a renowned author and academic. She has published papers, books, and articles on leadership, global development, regional issues like trade and integration, and Africa’s role in the world. She advised thesis students, taught Masters-level courses, and delivered keynote lectures at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, the University of Tokyo, MIT, the New England Complex Systems Institute, the Kennedy School at Harvard University, and Duke University.

Selected Publications

  • Development Drivers in Africa: The Role of Innovation
  • Cities and Spaces of Leadership: A Geographical Perspective Book
  • Leadership in a Globalized World, Risks, Complexity, and Dynamics


Frannie Leautier is fluent in English and French. She is competent in Spanish and has some knowledge of Arabic.

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