Local Economic Development




Sustainable Inclusive Local Economic Recovery


Hosted by the Community-Driven Development Global Solutions Group; Rural Livelihoods and Agriculture Employment Global Solutions Group and Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE)


COVID-19 has had severe economic impacts on local economies and communities, particularly the most vulnerable. The Pandemic has disrupted supply chains and led to reverse migration, stagnant rural non-farm economies, and devastating consequences for community/women groups, youth, and informal workers.  Extreme poverty is likely to persist at higher levels in 2021 and potentially beyond.

While initial efforts have rightly focused on mitigating immediate impacts, we now need to focus on comprehensive support to rebuild and transform local economies during and after COVID for longer-term economic recovery and resilience.

The local economic development in a post-COVID context would require fresh thinking and bold ideas to support women, youth, and informal sector workers and enterprises on a more sustainable basis. Over the coming months we will engage with thought leaders, policy makers and practitioners to explore pathways for transforming local economies and communities for resilient and sustainable recovery.

Join us for an engaging LED series! 


Session 4


Wednesday, December 2

The Power of Savings Groups: An Underutilized Platform for Local Economic Development in Africa


Savings Groups are one of the most widespread community development initiatives worldwide. In Africa, there are about 20 million active members in Savings Groups, supported by hundreds of local and international development organizations; and a recent study identified 74 public policies and programs related to Savings Groups, across 20 countries. These groups mobilize financial resources and social capital in marginalized communities; and experience demonstrates they are at the frontlines of the local response to crisis, including the COVID pandemic. And yet, Savings Groups remain a largely underutilized platform for local economic development. Join us for a discussion with the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, Hand in Hand International, the International Rescue Committee and World Vision on leveraging Savings Groups as a platform for local economic development in Africa.

Sybil Chidiac, Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Helene Monika Carlsson Rex
Practice Manager, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, The World Bank

Japheth Muli
Chief Operations Officer, Eastern Africa, Hand in Hand International

Angeline Munzara
Senior Advisor, External Engagement & Savings Groups, World Vision

David Panetta
Program Director, Savings Groups, The SEEP Network

Aisha Rahamatali
Senior Advisor, Women Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition, CARE International

Shobha Shetty
Practice Manager, Food & Agriculture Global Practice, The World Bank

Brian Ssebunya (Ph.D)
Senior Technical Advisor, Enterprise Development and Employment, International Rescue Committee

Speakers Bio

Japheth Muli is s development professional with 14 years of program management experience in microfinance, livelihoods, agriculture, natural resource management, disaster risk reduction, and resilience.

Angeline Munzara is the Livelihoods Senior External Engagement Advisor and Savings for Transformation Project Model Lead for World Vision International. Under her leadership, World Vision has supported 54,400 Savings for Transformation (S4T) groups in 34 countries with 1.3 million members (80 percent of whom are women). Angeline holds a Bachelor of Laws Honors (LLBS) and a Masters in International Relations and has over 15 years of development experience working with non-governmental organisations at the national, regional (SADC) and international levels. She is the current Global Chair for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Compliance Committee (2019-2021). She recently published a book: "Faith that Breaks Storms': http://angiechawira.co.za/

David Panetta leads the SEEP Network’s practice area in Savings Groups, and a portfolio of learning initiatives to improve standards of practice, mobilize knowledge and strengthen partnerships in the sector. Previously, David led the development of Savings Group programs in 19 countries, reaching approximately one million members – working with the Aga Khan Foundation, DFID, Plan International, Mercy Corps, VSL Associates, World Vision and over one hundred local NGOs. He has a Master’s in Economics from McGill University and is fluent in English, French and Spanish.

Aisha Rahamatali is as Senior Advisor, Women Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition, Aisha currently supports CARE’s participation in the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights. Before that, she acted as CARE Regional Advocacy Coordinator in West Africa, supporting the implementation of Women on the Move, an initiative that aims to scale up Savings Groups in West Africa trough partnership and advocacy with governments. In this role she engaged closely with governments, regional institutions, and women rights organisations to advance the adoption and implementation of Savings Groups by government institutions through financial inclusion, gender and social protection policies. She is the co-author of the recent state of practice report on Savings Groups and the Role of Government in Sub-Saharan Africa and served as co-facilitator of the SEEP Network’s Peer Learning Group on The Role of Savings Groups in Supporting Graduation from Social Safety Nets. Prior to joining CARE, Aisha worked on child rights and women rights advocacy with several NGOs (Defence for Children International, International Federation for Human Rights and the International Catholic Child Bureau). She also advocated for the promotion and protection of women rights as part of the team of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.

Shobha Shetty is a Practice Manager, Shobha covers Eastern and Southern Africa and oversees a portfolio of agriculture and rural development projects and analytic work of over US$2 billion. From 2012-2018, she served in a similar position in the South Asia region based in the World Bank office in New Delhi. Her current work and interests span agribusiness development, women’s economic empowerment, disruptive Technology, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, urban food systems, rural youth employment, and climate resilience. In 2015 she was a Visiting Fellow at the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCi) at Cornell University, New York. She has previously worked in the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tunisia, Syria, Saudi Arabia on a wide range of issues of agriculture and rural development. Shobha has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Anna University, India. She earned her Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University, USA.

Brian Ssebunya (Ph.D) based at the IRC Hub in Nairobi, Brian has over 15 years’ experiences with market systems and private sector development in emergency, recovery and development contexts in Africa and the Middle East. Brian supports IRC’s urban livelihoods projects in East Africa, focused on skills development, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion of urban refugees, as well as new delivery models for IRC’s urban refugee livelihoods programming globally. Brian holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), in Austria.


Session 3


Wednesday, October 7

How can we support the employment of vulnerable youth during and after COVID-19?

8:00am-9:00am  | 


COVID-19 has put the jobs of millions of youth, especially in the informal sector, at risk. Estimates suggest that more than one in six young people have stopped working due to the pandemic. This session will explore strategies to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to facilitate longer-term resilience and stronger recovery from COVID-19. Bringing together panelists from the Solutions for Youth Employment’s (S4YE’s) network, this session will discuss how organizations are reviving small and medium businesses, increasing private sector engagement, leveraging new digital job opportunities, and increasing virtual learning access for vulnerable youth.

Opening remarks:
Ian Walker, Manager, Jobs Group, World Bank and Ingo Wiederhofer, Practice Manager, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, World Bank

Fireside chat

Namita Datta, Program Manager, Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE)

  • Mamadou Biteye, Vice President, Social Impact for Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa
  • Rob Urquhart, Lead, Knowledge & Research, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator
  • Akshay Kashyap, Deputy Head, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna, National Skill Development Corporation, India
  • Colin Blackwell, Founder, Enablecode


Speakers Bio

Mamadou Biteye, Vice President, Social Impact for Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa, (CEMEA) region at Visa, based in Dubai. In this role, Mamadou works closely with the CEMEA Leadership Team to develop a Social Impact strategy for the region and implement programs that align to regional and market business priorities. Prior to Visa, Mamadou served at The Rockefeller Foundation as Managing Director for the Africa Region, leading programs such as the Digital Jobs Africa initiative, as well as developing partnerships with the African Development Bank, the Gates Foundation, and USAID to support the Foundation’s work. Mamadou is an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). He holds Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics from Ohio University and The Crimean Agricultural Institute.
Rob Urquhart, Lead, Knowledge & Research, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. Rob leads research, monitoring, and evaluation at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. Rob works with teams inside and outside Harambee to build and communicate an evidence base for what is needed to solve youth unemployment at scale; developing knowledge and insights for policy, interventions, and practices that address youth unemployment. Prior to joining Harambee, Rob led consulting efforts in South Africa and beyond focused on talent management and thought leadership related to organisational change. Rob has both a Masters in Sociology and an MBA from the University of Witwatersrand.
Akshay Kashyap, Deputy Head, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna, National Skill Development Corporation, India. With National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a unique Public-Private-Partnership institution addressing a critical challenge – skills and jobs, Akshay has been instrumental in design and delivery of PMKVY, the largest human resource development program in the world. Providing access to industry-oriented short-term VET programs to 10 million youth in four years, the program has trained 2.4 million youth including two million dropouts, one million women and four hundred thousand socially marginalized individuals, in 300+ courses across 650 districts of India.

Colin Blackwell, Founder, EnablecodeColin is the founder of Enablecode, a social enterprise based in Vietnam with the mission to create employment for people with disabilities. Previously he has worked for PwC.  He is a global judge of the United Nations Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge, a regional judge of the United Nations Hult Prize and judge of the Vietnam Human Resources Awards. Colin is a regular keynote speaker and media contributor on the topics of artificial intelligence, transformation and the future of work


Session 2


Wednesday, September 23

How can social innovators and entrepreneurs support inclusive local economic recovery?

8:00am-9:00am  | 

Online | Youtube


Social entrepreneurs and innovators solve market and government failures by serving excluded and vulnerable populations, which are most at risk from impacts of COVID-19. This webinar will explore how social entrepreneurs and innovators can transform and rebuild local economies for longer-term inclusive recovery.


Opening remarks:
Louise Cord, Global Director, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, WBG

Fireside chat

Parmesh Shah, Global Lead, Rural Livelihoods and Agriculture Employment GSG, WBG

  • Carlos Centeno, Lead, Economic Prosperity Community, MIT Solve
  • Casey van der Stricht, Principal, Solve Innovation Future, MIT Solve
  • Vikas Bali, CEO, Intellecap
  • Alfred Kojo Yeboah, Regional Director, Africa, Grameen Foundation

Closing remarks: 
Susan Wong, Global Lead, Community Driven Development GSG, WBG


Speakers Bio

Carlos Centeno is the Lead for Solve's Economic Prosperity Community where the team engages leading voices from academia, the private and public sectors, as well as nonprofit organizations to explore solutions to challenges in accessing meaningful work, economic opportunities, and financial inclusion and equality. He’s passionate about the catalytic effect of technology in crisis contexts and rapidly modernizing rural economies. Carlos is a graduate of the University of Kansas, with post-graduate diplomas in AI for business from MIT Sloan & CSAIL, blockchain strategy from Oxford's Said Business School, humanitarian emergency management from Harvard's Humanitarian Initiative, and Georgetown's Program Evaluation summer academy.

Casey van der Stricht is Principal of Solve Innovation Future, an innovative mechanism to make investments in the Solver teams. Casey joined MIT Solve from Social Finance, where she was Vice President, Social Investments, responsible for sourcing, structuring, and placing social impact bonds and other impact instruments, as well as advancing firm strategic positioning. Committed to leveraging new tools to make impact, she has experience in management consulting, financial services, and the nonprofit sector. Casey holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in history from Yale University.

Vikas Bali is the CEO of Intellecap. He has close to 25 years of experience spread across management consulting and industry roles. At Intellecap he is focused on developing innovative business models for the majority markets, scale-up enterprises and contribute towards solving the jobless growth environment across the developing world. Most recently he is overseeing the digitization of women-centric value chains in rural India by creating a coalition of rural women, processing industry, payment banks, MFIs etc. Prior to joining Intellecap, Vikas was working with Accenture Strategy as Managing Director – Head of the Products industry group. Vikas has completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) – Calcutta with Strategy as a major subject of his study. He has completed his Bachelor in Engineering from Vivekanand’s Institute for Technology.

Alfred Kojo Yeboah is the Regional Director, Africa of Grameen Foundation.  He embodies 15 years of program management and social development expertise with core competencies in leveraging user-centered design approaches to develop and implement ICT-enabled reproductive, maternal health, and agricultural extension behavior change communications programs. Most of his work today has focused on designing and deploying evidence-based innovative and practical interventions to health and agriculture communication challenges in low literate communities and has contributed to shaping knowledge on the cultural contexts of health and agriculture extension problems technology solutions seek to address for women, youth and smallholder farmers.Mr. Yeboah holds a Master’s degree in International Social Development Practice (MSc) from University College London and has contributed to program design in 5 countries. 


Session 1


Wednesday, September 9

How to support community/women groups for longer-term local economic recovery and resilience?

8:30am-10:00am  | 


Community groups (SHGs, farmer groups, saving groups etc.) are one of the important platforms for community-driven development and rural livelihoods. Most of the community group members are women. This session will explore how community/women/saving groups are coping up with COVID and discuss strategies to support women groups and informal workers for longer-term economic recovery and resilience.

Opening remarks:  Louise Cord, Global Director, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, World Bank and Martien Van Nieuwkoop, Global Director, Agriculture, and Food Global Practice, World Bank
Fireside chat
Moderator: Parmesh Shah, Global Lead, Rural Livelihoods, and Agriculture Employment Global Solutions Group, World Bank

  • Alka Upadhyaya, Additional Secretary, Government of India (NRLM)
  • Sybil Chidiac, Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Thomas de Hoop, Principal Economist at American Institutes for Research, Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups
  • Vinay Kumar Vutukuru, Senior Agriculture Specialist, World Bank

Closing remarks: Susan Wong, Global Lead, Community Driven Development Global Solution Group, World Bank 

LED Webinar How can we support community/women groups for longer-term local economic recovery and resilience