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 more than 20 years of experience in international and US finance and private sector development. She is a rural and agricultural finance expert and has authored a primer, FS SHARE Primer #8: Rural and Agricultural Finance for Food Security, for USAID. Anita managed a youth and enterprise development project in the DRC and assisted in the launch of UNCDF’s YouthStart. Previously, she managed the Financial Sector portfolio for Chemonics International, overseeing projects related to small and medium enterprise 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. Anita has designed and led participatory trainings in English, Spanish and French.
Ali is a Project Associate at Connexus providing administrative and logistical support to potential and ongoing projects and consultants. Prior to working at Connexus, Ali worked in the Education and Training Unit at World Learning, Inc. where she assisted in programming and implementing International Visitor Leadership Programs on behalf of the Department of State. Her interest in development is inherently tied to her love of international education; in the past, she has worked with the World Affairs Council of Washington, DC and the Office for Study Abroad at The George Washington University. Ali received her B.A. in International Affairs concentrating in Development from The George Washington University. She has a working proficiency in Italian.
Mr. Augustin Sebakambwe 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.
Barbara supports the USAID Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project in Rwanda as the Investment Specialist. She has six years of experience in value chain development, investment analysis and agricultural market linkages. Previously Barbara worked with Kinazi Cassava Plant as the Director in Charge of Agribusiness where she linked cassava farmers to the factory. She also worked with Rural Sector support Project (SPIU RSSP/LWH) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources as the Rice Commodity Chain Specialist where she supported rice cooperatives and rice millers in investment analysis, capital budgeting, market linkages and linkages to financial support. Prior to pursuing her Masters degree she worked with Technoserve, East African Coffee initiative as a Business Advisor. Barbara holds a Masters degree in Agriculture Economics from University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Makerere University, Kampala.
Dominic has 10 years of experience in financial services, training, business planning, market research, product development, risk management and value chain finance. He currently serves as the Agri-Finance Training Technical Specialist for the USAID program, Financing Ghanaian Agricultural Project (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.
Jacques currently serves as Finance Specialist for Connexus’ support to the USAID Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG) project in Rwanda. He has seven years of experience working in rural finance, especially in the microfinance sector, and has extensive knowledge in credit and risk administration and management. He previously worked as a Branch Manager at a microfinance institution and as a consultant for Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), providing technical assistance on a MINAGRI project to savings and credit cooperatives on agricultural lending and helping them to develop new products, manage their portfolio and develop credit and savings policies. He is also a Board Member of the Institute of Rural Development Research. Jacques holds a Master’s degree in Project Management from Azteca University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from the University of Rwanda. He is fluent in French, English and Kinyarwanda.
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 Manager, 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.
Liuben is a Project Associate at Connexus Corporation, contributing to logistical and administrative support for current and potential projects and consultants. Prior to joining Connexus, Liuben worked at Diamax Information Systems, where he assisted on digital media and strategy projects in the public and private sector, and providing operational support to the senior team. His interest in development evolved from his experience in youth education, international cultural exchanges, and a personal love for travel and communication. He has previously worked for the Embassy of France in Washington, DC and the French Ministry of Education. Liuben received his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service with a concentration in Culture and Politics from Georgetown University and is fluent in French and Bulgarian.
Melissa is a Project Manager at Connexus where she manages and provides support to programs and new business development. Previously, she worked at the SEEP Network on microfinance association strengthening in Brazil and Africa and coordinated the Social Performance Working Group for Networks. She also conducted assessments of the national microfinance association in Uganda and of a leading MFI on external client protection in Bolivia. Prior to SEEP, Melissa served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica where she worked on accounting and governance with a local community credit organization in addition to teaching business classes. She holds a BA in Global Studies and Economics from North Central College and is fluent in Spanish.
Nkubito is an agricultural and rural finance specialist with over 15 years of experience in Rwanda and the eastern Africa region. Currently, he serves as the Connexus Lead Finance Facilitator on the USAID/Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG) project. Previously, he served the as the Managing Partner for the consulting firm, GSS Ltd. providing business development services for a number of clients and conducting agricultural value chain financing studies for maize, dairy and coffee. As the Regional Finance Advisor for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. Kagabo developed the rural finance strategy and worked with both the demand and supply sides to facilitate finance. Prior to IFDC, Mr. Kagabo served as a Financial Analyst at USAID/Rwanda and also worked for the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, monitoring the World Bank portfolio. He is fluent in English, French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda, and holds an MBA from the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands.
Shannon is a Project Associate at Connexus where she provides logistical support for ongoing and potential projects. She started her work in development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin where she worked extensively with village savings and loans associations as well as women’s garden groups, helping develop their financial and organizational capacity. Most recently, she took her knowledge of savings and loans associations to the Dominican Republic where she worked for a small NGO to strengthen their existing groups and establish a strategy for expanding to additional communities. Shannon holds a Masters in International Studies from Oklahoma State University and is fluent in French with working proficiency in Spanish.
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