Serge Michailof » Bio


Serge Michailof has enjoyed an impressive and extensive career as an international development expert. He has held several senior positions in international and French development agencies and think tanks. From France’s aid agency to the World Bank to France’s strategic think tanks, Serge Michailof has been a leading strategic analyst over the last several decades of the challenges of development and their linkages to security issues.

Serge Michailof is presently researcher at FERDI (Fondation pour la Recherche en Développement International), and IRIS (Institut des relations Internationales et Stratégiques), two of the leading think tanks in France. Until 2019 he was a board member of GRET, (Groupement de Recherches et d’Echanges Technologiques) one of the important French NGOs and of CIAN (Comité des Investisseurs en Afrique) the business association of French investors in Africa. He taught economic development and aid policies at the Sorbonne-University of Paris and subsequently at the Institut National des Sciences Politiques in Paris (2002-2011). He continues to work advising the World Bank and other international development organizations, as well as various governments, specializing on fragile states and post conflict reconstruction, with a specific focus on institution- and state-building.

Serge Michailof previously worked as the Executive Director for Operations for the French Development Agency (Agence Francaise de Developement, AFD) and as the Vice President for Proparco, AFD’s private-sector arm (2001-2004). Prior to his leadership role at AFD, he worked for 8 years at the World Bank as Country Director and as Senior Advisor to the Vice President responsible for Africa. He served in the 1980’s as regional representative for AFD in various African Countries (including Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Niger) and as advisor to the French Minister of Cooperation. Before joining AFD, he spent six years preparing and appraising development projects in a French consulting firm, SATEC, where he led the technical department, working mostly in Latin America, South Asia, the Maghreb and the Middle East. He has worked in about 70 different countries over a 50-year career dedicated to development.

Serge Michailof has published or directed six books and many articles on development, aid policies and security issues in fragile countries (a listing is available at He holds various government dinstinctions, including the French Legion d’Honneur and the Ordre du Merite, as well as the Senegalese Ordre du Lion. He is often called upon to testify before France’s parliament and as a reference for Le Monde, Le Figaro, Les Echos and other media outlets.

Mr. Michailof holds various academic degrees from France’s leading academic institutions, notably an MBA from HEC (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales), a PhD in Economics and an MA in Anthropology from the Sorbonne. He also is a SPURS Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

His latest book « Autopsie d’un dĂ©sastre, Afghanistan 2001-2021 – Quelles leçons pour le Sahel ? » makes a thorough analysis of the many mistakes made by the western coalition in Afghanistan and drawing from this analysis, makes a number of proposals to avoid repeating such mistakes in the Sahel.