Our team’s diverse background as analysts, advisors and project managers—for multiple public and private sector organizations—allows us to offer clients a broad range of experience and understanding of the complex issues involved in working in developing country contexts. Our commitment is to bring a commercial and customized approach to projects and problems in a way that responds to our clients’ needs.
Anita is an economist with 30 years of experience in international and US finance and private sector development. She is a Rural and Agricultural Finance expert and has led Connexus since its inception in 2007. Anita has overseen several USAID-funded projects, including Connexus’ work on USAID/Ghana FinGAP and USAID/Rwanda’s Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth project and Huguka Dukore (Youth Development project). In Senegal, she led a team to conduct market research on small and medium enterprise (SME) finance. Previously, she managed the Financial Sector portfolio for Chemonics International, overseeing projects related to SME finance, insurance, leasing and investment funds, as well as regulation and supervision of microfinance institutions. As executive director, Anita transformed the MicroFinance Network into a leading policy institution by developing and promoting microfinance best practices. In Mali, she was the Associate Program Director for Peace Corps’ Small Enterprise Development program, supporting 60 volunteers who provided technical assistance to businesses and microfinance institutions. Anita has designed and led participatory trainings in English, Spanish and French.
Abby is a Project Associate with Connexus Corporation, providing logistical and administrative support for current and future projects, including the annual Cracking the Nut Conference. Prior to joining Connexus, she worked as an English Teacher in Ziguinchor, Senegal while on a Fulbright Grant and in Sens, France as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France. She also has experience working as a Research Assistant at The George Washington University’s Institute for African Studies and as an Editorial Assistant for the academic journal Anthropological Quarterly. Abby holds a B.A. in International Affairs and French Language, Literature, and Culture, and she has a working knowledge of French.
Alana is a Project Associate with Connexus Corporation, providing administrative and logistical support for current and future projects including the annual Cracking the Nut Conference. Prior to joining Connexus, she was a Compliance Coordinator for ACES, an international education organization working with high school exchange students on U.S. State Department Scholarships. Her experience and interest in International Development stem from her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer working on public health projects in Mali and Guinea. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Wyoming and has a working knowledge of French.
Alby is a Senior Project Associate at Connexus Corporation, contributing to logistical and administrative support for current and potential projects and consultants. Before joining Connexus, Alby worked for UCP Wheels for Humanity, where she was responsible for the organization’s fundraising activities. She also worked as their Administrative Assistant, where she fielded staff and assisted with home and field office logistics. Her interest in development stemmed from her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, where she served as an Early Childhood Education Specialist also taking on Agricultural Projects within her community. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies and Sociology from UCLA and is currently working on a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Non-Profit Management from Cal State, Northridge. Alby is fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French.
Alice is a Communications Specialist at Connexus, supporting the USAID/Zambia Accountable Governance for Improved Service Delivery (AGIS) project. Prior to joining Connexus, Alice served at a leading Zambian independent school, Chengelo, where she coordinated and implemented multiple marketing communications projects. She also worked as a Senior Consultant at the Zambian award-winning PR agency, Cutting Edge, catering to a complex client base that included the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, African Development Bank, United Nations Foundation, European Union Delegation to Zambia and COMESA, British Airways, Coca-Cola and the Duke of Edinburgh International Award for Young People. Alice holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Management from Edith Cowan University, a Certificate in Diplomacy, Protocol and Public Relations from the Zambia Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, and a Certificate in Crisis Communications from Fleishman-Hillard. In 2015, she was recognized as Emerging Public Relations Practitioner of the Year by the Zambia Public Relations Association.
Augustin supports the USAID/Rwanda Huguka Dukore Project as a Finance and Agribusiness Specialist. He has actively supported Rwanda smallholder farmers to access finance and markets as well as to build their business mindset and capacity for more than ten years. Prior to joining the Huguka Dukore project, Mr. Sebakambwe served as the Ngoma 22 Project Coordinator on SPIU RSSP-LWH projects funded by the World Bank and was an Assistant Lecturer from the Independent University of Lay Adventist of Kigali. Prior to the SPIU RSSP-LWH projects, Mr.Sebakambwe was the Agribusiness and Financial Services Specialist in Gasabo District and previously worked as a Loan and Rural Finance Officer for UNGUKA Bank Ltd. He has worked closely with the public sector, local and international organizations, private sector financial institutions, agro-dealers, traders and buyers. Augustin holds a Masters of Science in Agricultural Economics from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics Sciences from Kigali Independent University, Rwanda.
Bakary is a finance and enterprise specialist with nearly a decade of experience in small and medium-scale enterprise financing and analysis. He currently serves as a Finance Specialist for Connexus on the USDA Linking Infrastructure, Finance, and Farms to Cashew (LIFFT-Cashew) project in The Gambia, where he manages Connexus’ activities related to access to finance in the cashew value chain. He has a wide knowledge of the financial sector in The Gambia and has built strong connections with a variety of actors in the field. Previously, Bakary was an Account Officer and Relationship Manager at Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia, where he provided financial advisory services and analysis, in addition to monitoring and evaluating projects and portfolio implementation.
Dominic has over 10 years of experience in financial services, training, business planning, market research, product development, risk management, and value chain finance. He served as the Agri-Finance Training Technical Specialist for the USAID program, Financing Ghanaian Agricultural Project (USAID FinGAP). Previously, he was the lead consultant for the development of a youth-inclusive financial services product under the YouthSave program for HFC Bank/Boafo Microfinance Ltd. He also assisted in the design and development of three innovative financing products under the Agriculture Credit Program Consultant (ACPC) component of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). Dominic is a skilled trainer and has facilitated numerous trainings on financial performance indicators, loan portfolio management, financial statements analysis, sustainability and outreach, and value chain finance. He holds a Master’s Degree in Financial Management from Middlesex University Business School in London, UK.
Falilou is an international development and senior finance specialist. He has worked for more than 30 years in corporate banking and finance and has extensive experience in project management related to rural and agricultural market development and access to finance. Falilou currently serves as the Senior Finance Specialist for the USDA Linking Infrastructure, Finance, and Farms to Cashew (LIFFT-Cashew) project. He has a deep understanding of the West and Central Africa banking industry and his skill set combines consulting, international development, banking, and finance in a domestic and international context.
Ines is a Tunisian Finance Specialist with over 15 years of experience helping companies expand their activities and strengthen their business practices. She is also an expert in the development and implementation of investment and finance strategies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Ines currently supports the USAID Jobs, Opportunities and Business Success (JOBS) project as the Access to Finance Team Leader, where she works with the financial sector to increase access to capital (debt and equity) for SMEs in Tunisia. Prior to joining the JOBS project, Ines worked on several USAID projects as the Access to Finance Team Leader, including the USAID Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices Project (MEG) and the USAID Business Reform and Competitiveness Project (BRCP). Ines is also a Finance Lecturer at the Tunisian Exchange Training Institute (IFBT). She holds a Ph.D. in Management Sciences and is fluent in Arabic, French, and English.
Joseph Gonzague Ngendahimana is an access to finance and training specialist with over 10 years of experience building financial sector capacity. He currently serves as the Finance and Business Development Specialist on the USAID Huguka Dukore where he provides technical assistance and training to Microfinance institutions in building their portfolios, and designing youth appropriate financial services. Previously, he also worked for Connexus on the USAID/Rwanda PSDAG Project, delivering training to Financial Institutions on conducting due diligence of Microfinance Institutions interested in expanding their rural and agricultural portfolios to cooperatives and individual farmers. He also worked on the USAID/ GLOBAL COMMUNITIES RWANDA in EMERGE and EJO HEZA Projects, where he focused on financial education, cooperative governance, financial management, and gender training modules. Joseph holds a Master of Arts in Microfinance from the INES- Ruhengeri (Institute of Applied Sciences) and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the National University of Rwanda.
Kingsley supports the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity as an Agribusiness Finance Officer. For more than six years, he has actively supported access to finance and capacity building for agribusinesses in Nigeria, as well as helped to fix broken agricultural value chain linkages. Prior to joining the Agribusiness Investment Activity Project, Kingsley worked as a Retail Finance Supervisor with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc under the Agricultural Value Chain Finance and Investment Services business unit. Kingsley also worked with Sterling Bank Plc as a Regional Agric-Finance Officer supporting the Abuja and North-Central regions, and with Diamond Bank Plc as a Regional Agric-finance Support Officer supporting the North region. During his career, he has worked closely with the public and private sector agri-value chain actors, local, international and agric interest organizations/groups, financial institutions, agro-dealers and exporters. Kingsley holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Technology in Agricultural Extension from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria.
Laura is an economist by training with 20 years of experience providing technical assistance and support to small businesses. She has experience working on youth and extending financial services to them in Africa. Prior to serving as Connexus’s Operations Director, Laura spent 10 years as an Economist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, working on pesticide and agricultural issues. Most recently, she was President of Shenandoah Brewing Company, a small, family-owned and operated microbrewery in Alexandria, VA.
Lois Sankey is an Agricultural Finance Specialist with more than 20 years of experience in the Nigerian banking sector. Currently, she serves as the Finance and Investment Lead on the Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, helping financial institutions facilitate lending to agri-businesses. Previously, she served as a short-term consultant to Connexus where she designed and delivered several trainings on Agricultural Finance and Risk Management to loan officers and business development service (BDS) providers for USAID/Ghana’s FinGAP project. As the head of Agrifinance Unit at Diamond Bank, Nigeria, she oversaw the creation of financial products targeting agricultural value chains. She developed capacity and managed a team of loan officers that assessed and managed credit risk, using an agricultural value chain and cashflow based methodology, including analysis of financial statements and ratios. She holds a B.S. in Agriculture from Amadhu Bello University, Nigeria. Her native language is English.
Lotfi is an accomplished manager and private sector expert with 14 years of experience in sustainable partnerships, market assessment, finance and investment, government reform, and project management. He is currently a Project Director at Connexus overseeing several projects, including the Access to Agricultural Access to Finance component of the USAID’s FtF Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, and the USAID/Tunisia Jobs, Opportunities and Business Success (JOBS) project. Previously, he was the Regional Director for USAID’s LPFM II Program and World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, where he provided technical leadership, effective management and actively engaged with private and public actors. He also served as Program Director for USAID Trade Africa Côte d’Ivoire Program, which generated over $15 million in sales of livestock and agricultural products and facilitated over $16 million in investment in the cashew processing sector. While serving as Finance and Contract Manager for the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, he managed a $5 million budget to provide capacity building to producers, processers, and exporters as well as technical support to SMEs and financial institutions to improve access to finance and investment, grant disbursement to public partners, and international seller-buyer linkages. He is fluent in English and French and is highly proficient in Arabic.
Medicke is a development and training specialist with over 20 years of experience working in finance and entrepreneurial training, with extensive experience in management and community-based organization related to rural and finance development. He serves as a Finance Specialist for Connexus on the USDA LIFFT Cashew Project in Senegal. His work with domestic organizations and USAID has taken him across southern Senegal and given him a deep understanding of the needs of micro and small enterprises in the region.
Mehdi is a banking, access to finance and business development professional with 8 years of experience working with leading financial institutions. He currently serves as the Banking Specialist on the USAID Jobs, Opportunities and Business Success (JOBS) project in Tunisia. Previously, Mehdi worked as a Relationship Manager with Citi where he worked with government entities, top tier local companies, and Financial Institutions. He was also a consultant and an M&A specialist, involved in projects aimed at increasing access finance for small and medium sized enterprises and delivering innovative models to financial intermediaries. Mehdi earned an MSc degree in Management from EMLyon and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting Sciences from IHEC. He is fluent in Arabic and French and proficient in English
Todd Crosby is Vice President of Programs for Connexus. Previously, Todd was the Senior Technical Director for Resilience and Food Systems and Chief of Party for NCBA/CLUSA on Yaajeende, USAID Senegal’s flagship food security project in Senegal from 2010-2015. Yaajeende pioneered the “Nutrition Led Agriculture” methodology, a food systems approach to resolving issues of food security, hunger and malnutrition by strengthening local market actors, notably Community Based Solution Providers, to support the production, trade, and consumption of healthy foods. Todd holds an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and has over 23 years of experience working in community development in West Africa in Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Ghana. His technical expertise focuses on the use of private sector business approaches such as value chain, last mile agents, micro-finance, social marketing, and social franchising for community-based rural development.
Zied Ben Othman is a Finance and Equity Specialist with 16 years of experience in the Tunisian financial sector. He currently serves a Finance/Equity Specialist on the USAID Jobs, Opportunities and Business Success (JOBS) project, where he works with Tunisian financial institutions to increase financing for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Prior to joining the JOBS project, Zied worked for Neapolis Finance, a consulting firm he helped found, which also helps strengthened and facilitated access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in various sectors. He was also Co-founder and Managing Director at Builders Partners where he tailored his client’s investments using financial analyses and trends. Zied also worked in the private equity sector from 2003 to 2014 as an Investment Officer at SODICAB SICAR and Manager of Phenicia Seed Fund in Alternative Capital Partners (ACP). He holds a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering from the Tunis’ Higher School of Commerce (ESC), and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Institute of High Commercial Studies of Carthage (IHEC). He is a native Arabic and French speaker, and proficient in English.
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