Blog » A message from Juan Buchenau
Dear Community Members,
I am pleased to welcome Toshiaki Ono fondly known as “Toshi” as our new Coordinator for the CFI Center of Excellence. Toshi is a Senior Financial Sector Specialist at the World Bank. He has a wealth of experience in the promotion of access to finance in the Agriculture sector, mainly in Africa (Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia) and Asia Pacific (India, PNG, and Samoa). Toshi has been an active member of the Center of Excellence for quite some time.
Prior to joining the World Bank, Toshi held several positions at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) where he worked for agriculture finance and agribusiness development projects in South Asia and Africa. He also has practical experience in debt financing and investment banking through his earlier work at the Development Bank of Japan and Nomura for over 7 years. Toshi holds an MBA from Columbia University, USA.
As I graduate as an alumnus and newly retired of the World Bank Group staff, my journey is just not over yet. In the December 2020 issue of the CFI Newsletter, we had announced that the Center of Excellence will be exploring new territories. Indeed, starting this year, we will broaden our focus to look at the development of CFIs in FCV countries that is countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, in line with World Bank Group’s priority areas. For my part, I will continue collaborating with the Center of Excellence’s efforts on FCV countries. You can follow our work through the Center of Excellence, interact with us and contribute to this important topic.
Gender is another area we are aiming to promote. We know that women hold enormous potential and form the majority of the labor force in rural and underserved areas where financial cooperatives are the most prevalent. And yet, women's representation and participation in financial cooperatives remain a significant challenge not only in terms of gender parity but also because their noticeable “invisibility” poses a risk for the sustainability and future relevance of financial cooperatives. We will be holding our first webinar focused on Women on April 19. The invite will be circulated soon. Until then, we look forward to interacting with you on the CFI Center of Excellence site. Please, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.