Chair: Christopher Ian Brett
Christopher Brett was appointed as the Lead Agribusiness Specialist with the World Bank in November 2016 and joined the Food and Global Agricultural Practice, based in Washington DC. He has a Master’s Degree in Management for Agricultural Development from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. He has more than thirty years’ experience of working within the public private and voluntary sectors in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Prior to working with the World Bank, he worked for 9 years as the Global Head of Sustainability for a large multi-national agricultural supply chain management company, as part of the senior management team, Chris supported the company’s transition from a trading-based company to a global agri-business supply chain management company.
Speaker: Vikas Choudhary
Vikas Choudhary is a Senior Economist and Team Leader for Agriculture at the World Bank and is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Previously, he managed the operations of Agricultural Risk Management Team. Prior to joining the Bank, he was Director, Global Economic Development at the Centre of High Impact Philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). He started his career with the Government of Rajasthan, India and subsequently worked with CARE-India; set up a USAID agribusiness project; and co-founded a felt export business. He holds a PhD in Development Anthropology and Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University, USA and a Management degree from Indian Institute of Forestry Management, India.
Speaker: Beza Hailu Woldegiorgis
Beza Hailu Woldegiorgis works as an Operations Officer in IFC’s Manufacturing Agriculture and Services department, where he manages advisory projects in East and Southern Africa. His work focuses on strengthening smallholder supply chains to agribusiness clients by developing the capacity of farmers and farmer organizations and creating sustainable market linkages. Prior to joining IFC, Beza worked on multiple value chains as a consultant supporting leading implementors of agricultural projects on program design and he also advised Ethiopian agribusiness firms with accessing private equity funding to expand their operations. Beza is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems from Virginia Commonwealth University
Moderator: Asuka Okumura
Asuka Okumura is Operations Officer for the Agriculture and Food Global Practice of the World Bank. Her focus areas are responsible and sustainable agribusiness and agri-finance. She is currently supporting several digital finance initiatives in Asia and Africa to provide access to finance for smallholder farmers. She has a master’s degree in Finance from Georgetown University.