Kathleen Charles

Position: Advisors to the Board of Director

Kathleen is a senior SME/agribusiness and investment promotion specialist, working with donors, governments, financial institutions and key stakeholders in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America to build and foster competitive industries. Conduct field missions to assess SME performance in agriculture production, mining, health care, and tourism. Forge smart public/private partnerships to design innovative, financially inclusive schemes for entrepreneurs, including women and youth. Promote and facilitate dialogue on key socio-economic issues in cooperation with FAO, UNIDO, AfDB, World Bank, IFC, USAID, DANIDA et al, focusing on investment promotion, formalization of SME, access to finance and value chain management.

Kathleen has over 25 years of field experience working with NGO, donors, DFI, financial institutions, and national governments to create enabling environments for business in developing countries. Design and implement projects led by the private sector that yield long term sustainable results, stimulating pro-poor inclusive growth through strategic partnerships in the field.  Recent assignments include: SME Advisor to AMSCO to conduct Mid Term Evaluation of AfDB lending programs in 5 African countries including site visits and interviews with SME beneficiaries; Rural Finance Advisor to AfDB Private Sector/Agriculture Departments to craft new strategic lending programs for SME, Advisor to PSDAG USAID project for Bank of Rwanda Agriculture Lending Department, Strategic Advisor to GBF for SME agriculture and gold mining project in Burkina Faso, World Bank PRECASM Advisor to assess FI appetite for SME/ASM lending and identification of credit gaps, Senior Advisor to private bank in Tanzania working with government and private business to promote investment in SME, and SEZ spatial corridors, Work with MIT to facilitate a B2B matchmaking program for SME from Latin America (INTAL) with US Chamber of Commerce members. Facilitate workshops on SME capacity building, and present case studies on Agribusiness Investment Promotion programs for 22 countries under the aegis of FAO. She has also conducted training courses on: leadership management, policy planning, creation of sector wide export marketing strategies, and mobilization of resources for growing enterprises.