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VC Learning Event Video: Panelists reflect on AMAP during the closing plenary

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"Meeting the Challenges of Value Chain Development: A Learning Event," took place in Washington, DC on February 7-8, 2012. During the closing panel moderated by Shari Berenbach, presenters Jeanne Downing, Olaf Kula, and Alan Gibson shared their reflections on the impacts of USAID's Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project (AMAP) on the field of value chain development. Read more about the event and check out the related resources here »


Bio: Shari Berenbach, USAID Microenterprise Development office

Shari Berenbach is the director of USAID’s Microenterprise Development office. A pioneer in the impact investing field, Berenbach previously served as President and CEO of Calvert Foundation, a non-profit financial intermediary that mobilizes capital from social investors to meet critical financing needs. In nearly 14 years, Berenbach grew Calvert Foundation from a pilot project to a $500 million institution serving thousands of investors and hundreds of local financial intermediaries domestically and internationally. Throughout the l980s, Berenbach worked with microfinance operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the 1990s, Berenbach consulted in microfinance and for USAID and the World Bank, and later served as an Investment Officer at the International Finance Corporation. She has also held private sector positions at Solomon Brothers, Citigroup and a start-up telecommunications firm. Berenbach holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley.

Bio: Jeanne Downing, USAID Microenterprise Development office

Jeanne Downing is the Senior Enterprise Development Advisor in USAID’s Bureau of Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade (EGAT) and Office of Microenterprise Development (MD) Office. Dr. Downing is in charge of the research effort AMAP, focused on developing knowledge and promoting learning on how to design, implement and evaluate value chain development projects. AMAP has focused on approaches to and tools for facilitating behavior change in value chains, strategies for reaching the very poor and linking them to markets, and evaluation approaches that measure the impacts of complex projects designed to address systemic constraints.

Bio: Olaf Kula, ACDI/VOCA

Olaf Kula serves as program manager for ACDI/VOCA's West Africa regional office. Drawing on 30 years of experience in 45 countries, Kula provides technical support and intellectual leadership to ACDI/VOCA's worldwide activities. Currently, he is responsible for technical and administrative coordination among all ACDI/VOCA and ASI projects and programs in Ghana and senior corporate-level representation within West Africa. Prior to joining ACDI/VOCA, Kula consulted for the World Bank, USAID, UNDP, European bilateral donors and World Trade Center organizations. He has worked with commercial banks and has managed several microenterprise and SME development projects and a U.S. credit union. As emerging market manager for a trading company, Kula successfully provided U.S and European market access for a number of African companies. He has an M.S. in agricultural and natural resource economics and a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri.

Bio: Alan Gibson, Springfield Centre

Alan Gibson is a co-founder of the Springfield Centre, based in the UK. His background is in economic and business consultancy for major corporate and government clients but also includes a period in Bangladesh working with a local NGO. He has worked in the development sphere for more than 20 years. From 1996, working with the Committee of Donor Agencies for SME Development, he led the major re-assessment of donor agency interventions that underpinned the development of market development approaches to business services. Building on this experience, Gibson has been an important influence in the emergence of approaches to development focused on systemic change, where interest from and use by development agencies has grown significantly in recent years. In particular, Gibson has been a key instigator of the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach and is director of an international training program on this approach. An experienced trainer and consultant, he has worked in more than 20 countries with a range of organizations. Key areas of interest include pursuing systemic change in the development of value chains and financial markets and in new spheres such as education.