With nearly 20 years of experience in development, Asier has worked in evaluating, developing, and designing public policies for social inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has travelled extensively in search of global development solutions and has been involved in budgeting for projects aimed at improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable segments of the population. Asier has also played a key role in establishing and securing funding for multi-stakeholder institutions and nonprofit organisations.
Since 2020, Asier has been a member of the Microinsurance Network Team, where he is responsible for coordinating Best Practice Groups (working groups), organising global events, and managing relationships with members, among other responsibilities.
Financial Inclusion Specialist
Joana Afonso is Financial Inclusion Specialist at the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), overseeing coordination, research, and outputs of all the e-MFP Action Groups, being part of the content team organising the European Microfinance Week and the European Microfinance Award, and overseeing coordination of the European Research Conference on Microfinance. As coordinator of the Action Groups, Joana has coordinated multiple projects on diverse topics, including green inclusive finance (Green Map project), outcomes management, human resources, financial inclusion of refugees, and WASH. Since 2023, she is a Board member of SPTF. Before joining e-MFP, Joana was an academic researcher with her research focusing on evaluation methodologies in microfinance and prevention of client over-indebtedness. She holds a PhD in economics and finance from the University of Portsmouth, UK and a masters in microfinance (European Microfinance Programme)from the Université Libre Bruxelles, Belgium. Joana began her microfinance career as a credit officer at the NGO ANDC in Portugal.
Central Bank of Iraq
Director general of accounting department
I'm Dr. Emad Alhammash, D.G Accounting Department, I have a certificate as a chartered accountant and I worked for 14 years at the Federal Board of supreme audit, then I moved to work at the Central Bank of Iraq since 2016 until now.
Central Bank of Egypt
General Manager - Sustainability Department
Ali has 25 years of experience in the fields of management, setting strategies, capacity building/development, strategic planning, and sustainable finance in central banking. Ali Joined the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) in 2006 and Currently is holding the position of General Manager of the Sustainability Department.
Ali is a Board Member in Center of Excellence for Research and Applied Studies on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, National Research Center (NRC), A Board member in the Egyptian Green Building National Council, Also a member and official Central Bank of Egypt representative in number of networks namely Sustainable Banking and Financial Network (SBFN), Network for Greening Financial Systems (NGFS), Former Chair of Inclusive Green Finance Working Group, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and The European Organization for Sustainable Development.
As Accion´s Chief Operating Officer, Esteban Altschul manages and leads the organization´s strategy, execution, and global operations. He supervises the Global Advisory Solutions, Accion Venture Lab and Human Resources teams, and oversees the work across all Accion departments. Esteban is a member of Accion’s investment committees and co-heads Accion´s Investment Management company. He is also responsible for Accion’s global business development and serves on multiple boards of directors of Accion’s partners.
Additionally, Esteban is President and Chairman of Banco Solidario S.A. (BancoSol) in Bolivia, the country´s leading microfinance bank and recognized as a global role model in financial inclusion. As President, he oversees the management team in an executive capacity. Esteban is the first recipient of the UN Women award in Bolivia in 2023 for the Bank’s achievements in women empowerment.
Prior to joining Accion, Esteban was Principal Investment Officer and led human resources at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Esteban holds a B.S. in international business diplomacy and an M.S. in international economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Maria Raffaella ASSETTA
Head of Unit
Maria Raffaella Assetta
Head of International Affairs Unit, DG FISMA, EU Commission
Maria Raffaella Assetta is currently Head of Unit for International Affairs in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and Capital Markets Union.
Lawyer by education, she started her professional career in the private sector as independent attorney-at-law before joining the European Commission in 2002, where she has been working in policy coordination, policy development, and enforcement of EU law, first in the field of public procurement and since 2010 in the field of financial services and capital movements.
In the financial services field, she followed closely the implementation of the financial reform in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Before joining the International Affairs Unit, she was deputy Head of the Unit in charge of monitoring the implementation of the free movement of capital and coordinating the enforcement of EU financial services legislation, within the Directorate General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.
Isabelle Barrès has over 20 years experience building coalitions to address complex social and environmental issues. She has led the development of global industry standards (MIX, the Smart Campaign) and contributed to improving transparency and impact through her leadership in industry initiatives (SPTF, ATLAS). Currently is advising on financial inclusion and sustainability and leads the CGAP’s MFI Digitization work. She is also a member of BRAC International Holdings BV Supervisory Board and is the Project Lead of the Green Map, a project of the e-MFP Green Inclusive and Climate Smart Action Group (GICSF-AG).
ESG & Impact Associate
Sofia is an ESG & Impact Associate at Triple Jump, where she focuses on Financial Inclusion and Impact Management and Measurement. Before joining Triple Jump, she worked at Signature Agri Investments, a private equity firm dedicated to sustainable agriculture projects in Africa. Previously, she gained professional experience in economic research.
Sofia holds an MSc and a BSc in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University. She also studied as exchange student at Sciences Po Paris and the University of British Columbia.
Sofia is a Certified Expert in Climate Adaptation Finance and in ESG & Impact Investing from Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
She is an Italian national and speaks fluently Italian, English, and French.
Entrepreneurs du Monde
Social and Environmental Technical Advisor
I have 15 years’ experience in the United Kingdom and France in social entrepreneurship, program monitoring and evaluation and social and environmental performance management. I currently work for Entrepreneurs du Monde , a French NGO that helps to promote entrepreneurship amongst vulnerable people in low income countries through the incubation and growth of social businesses. My work as social and environmental performance technical advisor allows me to work closely with our partner programs in the field of social microfinance, access to energy and agro-entrepreneurship helping them design their overall social and environmental strategies, including the collection and reporting of indicators to help monitor the programs performance. I am delighted to share my experiences of how we design and implement programs in both urban and rural settings that help contribute to improving food security in vulnerable regions.
Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) University of Duisburg-Essen
Senior Research Fellow
Dr. phil. Frank Bliss, Professor of Development Anthropology at the University of Hamburg. Senior Research Fellow as well as teaching officer at the University of Duisburg-Essen (INEF). Research projects among others in Egypt, the Maghrib, Sudan, Central and Southeast Asia. Active as a consultant above all in the field of drinking water and sanitation (WASH), the implementation of social safeguards in infrastructure projects and in policy advice.
Head of Debt, ECA MENA
M. Bouet is heading the financial institutions debt team for the EECCA/MENA regions at responsAbility since 2016. M. Bouet has over 15 years of experience in the impact investing industry , mainly focusing on microfinance, downscaling to SMEs and also energy (renewable and energy efficiency).
M. Bouet holds a degree in Internal Business from the Sciences Po school in Paris.
Social Performance Officer
Working with Oikocredit in the End-client survey programme since 2021, John currently manages 12 programme partners on a yearly basis across Africa and Asia. John consults and builds partner capacity to collect and to take decisions based on their client information. John also delivers survey tools to programme partners to facilitate digital data collection and visual tools to facilitate data interpretation and decision-making.
John graduated his MA in Applied Ethics from Utrecht University in 2020 and achieved certification as 'Certified Expert in Microfinance' from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in 2022.
University of Bergamo
Professor of Banking and Finance
Castellani is an accomplished Associate Professor specializing in Banking, Finance, and Microfinance within the Department of Management at the University of Bergamo. With 15+ years of dedicated experience in both research and consulting, his expertise lies in the realm of financial inclusion, particularly in emerging and developing economies. During his career as a consultant, he has collaborated with various international organizations including the IADB, the European Union, the Financial Sector Deepening, and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. His educational journey includes a a Ph.D. in Economics of Financial Markets and Intermediaries from the Catholic University of Milan, and the privilege of serving as a visiting scholar at the esteemed Rural Finance Program of Ohio State University in the United States.
ADA microfinance NGO
Lucia currently works as project manager for ADA NGO. She manages financial inclusion projects in Asia, particularly in Laos and the Philippines, with the main objective of supporting local microfinance institutions in tailoring their services to the needs of their clients, especially to farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture and forestry value chains. She has over eight years of project management experience, mainly in South-East Asia. Lucia holds a Master's Degree in Development Studies from the University of Trieste in Italy and the Certificate in Microfinance Management from the Frankfurt School of Finance.
Entrepreneurs du Monde
Social and Environmental Performance Manager, Gender Lead
Tujijenge Tanzania Financial Services Ltd
Felistas is a seasoned microfinance practitioner that has been actively engaged in microfinance for the past 25 years in several African countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. She has held management and consultancy and research functions for the past 20 years.
Paola D’Angelo is Associate Director at Innpact S.A. where she has developed board advisory services to impact investment funds. She has led a number of initiatives in the field of impact finance and as part of the management committee of the company.
Paola is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics of the “Universitá di Trento”, she holds a master’s in international economics and international Relations from the “Universitá Cattolica di Milano” and is a graduate of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. Paola is member of the board of directors of impact investment funds and of NGOs, such as InFiNe and Sunflower Seeds asbl.
Davel & Associates
Gabriel is a Chartered Accountant and has a Master’s Degree in Economics. He was part of the team that established the Small Enterprise Foundation (the leading MFI in South Africa); a partner at Deloitte & Touche’s Financial Institutions team (1995 – 2000); the founding CEO of the Micro Finance Regulatory Council (2000 – 2006) and the founding CEO of the National Credit Regulator in South Africa (2006 – 2010). Over the last 10 years he has been doing international consulting in the areas of financial regulation, consumer protection and SME finance (specialising in credit guarantee funds).
In 2000 Gabriel was appointed to establish the Micro Finance Regulatory Council, which was responsible for the regulation of both bank and non-bank micro-lending. In June 2006 Gabriel became the first CEO of the National Credit Regulator (NCR) and responsible for the implementation of the National Credit Act in South Africa. The NCR is responsible for all areas of credit regulation in South Africa, with a mandate which includes banks, NBFIs, credit bureaus and debt counsellors.
Since 2011 Gabriel has been doing international consulting and advisory projects in financial regulation, development finance and consumer protection. He specialise in credit market development (with SME finance as major area of focus), financial regulation, credit information and credit risk management. Gabriel has been working for clients in these areas in different countries in Africa, Asia, Central Asia, and the Caribbean Islands. His clients include the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, international donor organisations, central banks, private sector credit bureaus and banks. He acted as Director: Credit Market Development for FSD Africa from 2015 to 2019, leading FSDA’a credit market projects across Africa.
Over the last four years Gabriel’s primary focus has been on credit guarantee funds and in particular on digital origination and the application of Fintech in the commercialisation of credit insurance and credit guarantees in SME lending. The focus is on introducing credit guarantees through commercial insurance and reinsurance partners, in order to mitigate bank risk in lending to the SME sector and encourage greater bank and non-bank lending to small and medium businesses.
Gabriel currently lives between Johannesburg in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique.
Aude de Montesquiou
FinEquity Global Facilitator
Aude de Montesquiou is FinEquity Community of Practice Facilitator at CGAP.
Aude worked at CGAP from 2005 to 2017, last as Financial Sector Development Specialist, leading CGAP’s Graduating the Poorest and Vulnerable Segments work. She oversaw the implementation of the CGAP-Ford Foundation Graduation Program, a global effort to understand how safety nets, livelihoods, and microfinance can be sequenced to create for the poorest out of extreme poverty in eight countries with an intensive research agenda and randomized impact evaluations in seven sites (Science, 2015). She was a co-founder and successfully managed the Graduation community of practice and is the author of seminal publications on economic inclusion of the poorest including technical guides, research and policy briefs.
In 2017 Aude co-created a new Global Partnership within the World Bank Social Protection and Jobs Unit (SPJ), the Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI), to help governments develop, implement, and scale economic inclusion programs to sustainably increase the income, assets, and economic resilience of extreme poor and vulnerable people. She was a Social Protection Specialist at PEI/SPJ until 2021 and co-edited and authored the World Bank flagship State of Economic Inclusion Report 2021 downloaded over 40,000 times.
Most recently, Aude has been Senior Advisor at BRAC’s Institute for Governance and Development working on digital innovations for Economic Inclusion programs. With close to 20 years of experience in financial inclusion, livelihoods, and social protection, Aude provides technical advice to economic inclusion programs worldwide. She has held speaking engagements at many high-level events on extreme poverty reduction including with Mohammed Yunus, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Government of Brazil. Aude is currently based in Paris.
Before joining CGAP, she completed internships working on impact evaluation at PlaNet Finance, and with microfinance institutions in Lebanon and Togo. Aude holds a master’s degree (Summa Cum Laude) from the School of Political Science in Paris (Sciences-Po) with a specialization in development studies, and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of La Sorbonne. She is fluent in English and French, speaks Portuguese and Spanish, and has rudimentary German. Aude is currently based in Paris.
Benoit De Waegeneer
Humundi (ex SOS Faim)
Fully committed to working with the team, our partners and our allies to help make Humundi (formerly SOS Faim) an accelerator in the transition to more sustainable, fair and resilient food systems.
Having previously put my skills at the service of NGOs in the Sahel and elsewhere (Palestine, DRC...) to work with social movements, farmers, women's organisations, young people and project leaders working for a world of equality and respect for human rights.
CGAP Consumer Protection Lead
Eric Duflos leads CGAP’s work on responsible digital finance ecosystems, from policy, industry, and consumer perspectives, ensuring that financial services have positive outcomes for customers. He also leads CGAP engagement with global Standard Setting Bodies.
Eric has 28 years of experience in advancing financial inclusion and economic development, with a strong focus on policy and regulatory issues. His most recent position was director of the office of the UNSGSA, H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands where he supported her policy advocacy work. He also helped the UNSGSA design and launch the CEO Partnership for Economic Inclusion. Prior to this, Eric has held several positions within CGAP, including regional representative for East Asia and the Pacific based in Singapore. Eric’s research and advice have focused on client-centered policy and regulatory issues, and digital finance. In his last essay, he proposes a new way to think about consumer protection with a “Responsible Digital Finance Ecosystem” approach. He has authored numerous articles and publications and taught policy and regulation issues at the Turin/Boulder course, Sciences-Po Paris, and universities in Singapore.
Before joining CGAP, Eric worked seven years in the Lao PDR to support the emergence of a financial inclusion policy framework with UNCDF, the Bank of Lao PDR, and the World Bank. He holds a master’s degree in management from EM Lyon, and a master’s in economics and international relations from SAIS, Johns Hopkins University.
Head of Programmes Agriculture and Forestry Value Chains
Christina is Head of Programme “Agriculture and Forestry Value Chains” at ADA, with the global objective for small, family-run farms and businesses to secure their economic resources.
Strong focus of her work is on supporting small-scale producers to plant and manage trees in agroforestry systems and sustainable forest management, with the ultimate objective to develop and strengthen inclusive and sustainable local value chains, and to generate a positive impact on livelihood of vulnerable populations and ecosystems health.
With a professional experience of >15 years, Christina has developed and implemented solutions to foster sustainable development through agronomic and environmental R&D, environmental policy support and corporate sustainability management.
She holds a PhD in plant ecophysiology from SupAgro Montpellier, a postgraduate certificate in sustainable development and environmental management from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) of the University of London and a trinational Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the Upper Rhine Universities in France, Germany and Switzerland.
VISIONFUND INTERNATIONAL - WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL
Global Insurance Director
Solène Favre is Global Insurance Director for VisionFund International (VFI) since February 2019. With her team, she supports MFIs in setting up insurance operations for their borrowers and their families. More recently, VFI's insurance team has expanded its technical assistance for WV National Offices to protect more families and more children among WV beneficiaries.
Before joining VisionFund International, Solène set up and led the Cambodian subsidiary of the French insurance group Prévoir, the first microinsurance company in Cambodia for almost 7 years, reaching 300,000 insurance policies with a team of 147 people. She also worked on a pilot project to set up the Cambodia's National Social Security before it was handed over and launched officially by the Ministry of Labour in 2012. She also ran a micro-insurance program in India for 2 years providing a health and life community-based insurance for slum dwellers in Maharashtra for UpLift Mutual Association with the French NGO Inter Aide. She started her career in France working for a mutual insurance company for 10 years.
Solène holds a postgraduate degree in Public Health from EHESP (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique).
Dr Jane Feehan has been with the EIB for 15 years, and has just returned from 5 years in Cote d’Ivoire where she was Head of the EIB’s Representation for West and Central Africa. Prior to this she worked as operational lead for the EIB’s innovative Natural Capital Finance Facility, and as a senior specialist on forestry and rural development investments. A biologist and forestry engineer by training, before joining EIB Jane worked on policy analysis with the European Environment Agency, Copenhagen. She comes from Ireland and was educated at Oxford University, Imperial College London and Trinity College Dublin.
Marianella Feoli Pena
Fundecooperacion para el Desarrollo Sostenible
Executive Director of Fundecooperacion for Sustainable Development, Costa Rican NGO dedicated to promote and finance sustainable development projects in micro, small and medium size enterprises in Costa Rica. Industrial Engineer, Environmental Management, and Graduate Programs on Strategic Management and Microfinances Management. Teaches at the University of Costa Rica.