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Keynote speakers


Arvind Arsha site

Arvind Ashta
Professor of finance, control and law, Burgundy School of Business (France)

Dr. Arvind Ashta is professor of, Finance at the Burgundy School of Business, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté in Dijon, France and is member of its research center CEREN, EA 7477. He has taught Microfinance as visiting faculty in Brussels, Chicago, New Delhi, Pforzheim and Winterthur, and provided student seminars in Barcelona, Hertfordshire, Kathmandu, Mysore and Nancy. He is a member of research associations (CERMi, RRI) and has been associated with the European Microfinance Platform. He has over sixty publications in international journals. He has edited "Advanced Technologies for Microfinance", co-edited "MIS in Microfinance" and "Slow Management" and authored "Microfinance: Battling a Wicked Problem". He is a member of a club of micro-investors.

Research Meets Africa


Eddy Balemba

Eddy Balemba
PhD and professor, Catholic University of Bukavu, République Démocratique du Congo

Eddy Balemba Kanyurhi is an associate professor in the Faculty of Economics and Management at Catholic University of Bukavu, South Kivu, DRCONGO. He holds a PhD degree in Economics and Management from the Warocqué School of Business and Economics in Mons, Belgium. He has a master degree in Microfinance from Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (Université Libre de Bruxelles). His research interests include Microfinance, Banking Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Gender Analyis and Pychometric Analysis. Eddy has published articles in international Journal like: International Journal of Bank Marketing, Strategic Change, Innovations and has forthcoming articles in Mondes en Développement, Finance, Stratégie et Contrôle.

Research Meets Africa

Mathilde Bauwin

Mathilde Bauwin
PhD et Research Project officer, ADA (Luxembourg)

Mathilde Bauwin is currently Research Project Officer at ADA, a Luxembourgish NGO promoting inclusive finance in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She is responsible for knowledge collection, creation and management on several topics, such as social performance, green microfinance, alternative finance for micro- and small entrepreneurs, etc. She also works on the evaluation of projects, and on the designing and implementation of an impact measurement system within ADA. As a SPI4 qualified auditor, she assesses the social performance management of some ADA partners.

Before joining ADA in 2017, she worked at the Tunisian microfinance institution Enda inter-arabe as a research officer, and before that at the French NGO ADICE as a project officer focusing on socio-professional integration of disadvantaged young people.

She holds a PhD in Economics and two Master Degrees in Political Science and Development Economics.

Research Meets Africa


Ambroise FAYOLLE

Ambroise Fayolle
Vice President of the European Investment Bank

Ambroise Fayolle was named Vice President of the European Investment Bank in February 2015. He is currently in charge of the EIB’s operations in France, Germany, Austria, South Africa and works closely with ACP and OCT mandates in West Africa and the Pacific. He is a member of the Steering Board of the EFSI (European Fund for Strategic Investments) and sits on the Management Committee as well as the committees of innovation, economic studies, politics, and development. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the EIF (European Investment Fund, a sister organization to the EIB).

Mr. Fayolle has previously represented France on the Boards of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC, from September 2007 until March 2013, when he was selected as General Manager of Agence France Trésor (AFT). In this position he worked closely with the French Finance Minister to manage the state’s debt. From 2003 to 2005 he also worked with the IMF.

Mr. Fayolle has held several leadership positions in the Treasury Department, which he entered in 1991 after graduating from university at the Ecole nationale d’administration. Between 2005 and 2007 he was CEO of the office of public finance and monetary affairs – the predecessor of the AFT – and Assistant Secretary for multilateral affairs and development. During this period he also held the positions of sous-sherpa to the G8 and Co-President of the Club de Paris. 

Official opening Ceremony
Tuesday, October 22


Frédéric KALALA

Frédéric Kalala
Professor and Chair in microfinance at the Protestant University of Congo

M. Kalala is professor and chair of the Congolese/German Microfinance Centre at the Protestant University of Congo. He is also Manager of the Funds for the Financial Inclusion (FPM asbl), an investment fund in microfinance in DRC, country where he also created an MFI, COOPEC GUILGAL since 2012. Besides, he is also an international consultant in evaluating microfinance institutions.

In collaboration with the funds of the German education services (DAAD: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) he designed and made certified by the Ministry of Education of DRC a master in microfinance. This programme was designed on the real needs of the industry in DRC and Central Africa. It hosts each year Congolese and 80% of foreign students (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Comoros, Zambia, etc). The programme has the advantage of integrating perfectly the academic requirements (60%) and the professional ones (practical work, internships, market analysis, field work, etc). It is the only programme of its kind in Africa.

 As an international expert, Frédéric Kalala intervenes in missions concerning sectorial evaluations (financial education, consumer’s protection in financial services, etc.) and institutional evaluations (market analysis, business plans, training of agents and managers of microfinance institutions). He participates also to the strategic steering of the Fund of Financial inclusion in DRC and of his MFI, which counts more than 15.000 clients, with an outstanding credit around 2.000.000 USD.

Research Meets Africa


Paulette Lenert
Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs

Paulette Lenert was born on 31 May 1968 in Luxembourg.

Education and qualifications
Following her secondary school studies at the Athénée de Luxembourg, Paulette Lenert was awarded a degree in private and corporate law from the University d'Aix-Marseille III in 1991. After her master's degree, she pursued her studies in the United Kingdom and obtained a master's in European law from the University of London in 1992. Paulette Lenert focused her continuing education as much on European law as on the development of her skills in public management and systemic approach.

Governmental posts
Following the legislative elections of 14 October 2018, Paulette Lenert joined the government as Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and as Minister for Consumer Protection on 5 December 2018 in the coalition government formed by the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (déi gréng).

Professional activities
Paulette Lenert began her career as a lawyer at the Luxembourg Bar in 1992. She joined the Ministry of Justice in 1994 in the function of justice attaché. In 1997, she was appointed First Judge of the Administrative Tribunal and served as vice president until 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she was senior government advisor to the Minister Delegate of Solidarity Economy.

She was the head of the, in 2013, newly founded Facilitation Unit for Urban Planning and Environment attached to the Ministry of State. Following the reshuffle of the ministerial departments in 2013, she joined the Ministry of the Civil Service and Administrative Reform in the function of senior government advisor and was in charge of the general coordination as of 2014. Furthermore, in January 2017, she was nominated executive director of the National Institute for Public Administration. Paulette Lenert resigned from her functions upon joining the government.

Activities relating to associations
Paulette Lenert was a board member of the ProActif a.s.b.l. between 2011 and 2013. She was also a board member of Initiativ Rëm Schaffen a.s.b.l. and resigned from this function when she joined the government.

SAM conference

Marc Labie

Marc Labie
Co-director of Centrer for European Research in Microfinance (CERMI), Belgium

Marc Labie is a professor at the Warocqué School of Business and Economics of the University of Mons (UMONS) where he teaches organization studies and management. He is also a visiting professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, and a co-director of the Centre for European Research in Microfinance (CERMi). In the past, he has also been lecturing in various other universities including the Université de Liège (2004-2009) and Harvard University (FIPED Executive Program at the HIID and the Kennedy School of Government – 1998-2011) and has worked on microfinance organizations in various countries including Benin, Bolivia, Colombia, Haïti, the Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco and Peru. He has co-edited with Beatriz Armendariz The Handbook of Microfinance (World Scientific Publishing, 2011), and, with Isabelle Guérin and Jean-Michel Servet, The Crises of Microcredit (Zed Books, 2015).


Research Meets Africa


Ephrem Niyongabo

Ephrem Niyongabo
Expert advisor in monetary policy and financial market, Central Bank of Burundi

Ephrem Niyongabo is a Burundian national. He works as Economist at the World Bank since mid-February 2018.
Previously, he worked as Expert Advisor to the Board in charge of Monetary Policy and Financial Markets at the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (BRB), from November 2015 to mid-February 2018.

He also worked as Senior Research Economist in Private Sector Development, Regional Integration and Trade Policies at the Institute for Economic Development in Burundi (IDEC) think tank where he conducted and coordinated research, analysis, and synthesis on private sector development, regional integration and trade policies issues between May 2011 and October 2015.

He published research works in specialized journals and conducted number of consultancy assignments in the field of economic policy analysis and formulation as well as capacity building on behalf of national and international institutions operating in Burundi, such as the African Development Bank, Trade Mark East Africa, the United Nations Development Program, the Belgian Technical Cooperation, the African Capacity Building Foundation, the Ministry in charge of Trade and Industry and the Ministry in charge of regional integration.

Ephrem Niyongabo has an extensive experience in research in microfinance field. He worked as permanent researcher within the Centre for European Research in Microfinance (CERMi) in Belgium, where he studied macroeconomic aspects (such as regulation and public policies of local governments, central banks and international donors) of the development of microfinance from October 2007 to January 2011 in the frame of his doctoral research.

Ephrem Niyongabo holds a PhD in Economics and Management obtained from the University of Mons in Belgium in 2011. He also holds a degree in advanced development studies from University of Liège in Belgium in 2007 and is graduated in International Economics from University of Bejaia in Algeria in 2004.

Research Meets Africa


Martin O'Reilly site

Martin O'reilly
Professor and Director of the Centre for Professional Studies, Kampala International University, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Martin O'Reilly is a professor at Kampala International University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is Director of the Centre for Professional Studies and works closely with organizations - especially MFIs - to 'make their good better and their better best'. His particular areas of special interest are customer relationship management, financial education for women, and ways to select and prepare future managers from current staff in an organisation.  Prior to his appointment in Kampala International University, he was Director of the Centre for Microfinance and Community Economic Development at Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda. While there, he worked closely with Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN) in developing curricula in microfinance education.

Research Meets Africa


Jean-Michel SEVERINO 2

Jean-Michel Severino
President of "Investisseurs & Partenaires" (I&P), member of the Académie des technologies et du Conseil des affaires étrangères, France

President of "Investors & Partners" (I&P), Inspector General of Finance, Jean-Michel Severino has been involved since 2010 mainly in "investment impact", societal investments and Africa after a career devoted to financing development. He was previously Director of Development at the French Ministry of Cooperation, Vice President for East Asia at the World Bank, and General Manager of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD)  from 2001 to 2010.

Mr. Severino regularly publishes in the French and international press. On 21 October 2007, he launched the Ideas for Development blog with Josette Sheeran, Donald Kaberuka, Kemal Dervis, Pascal Lamy, Abdou Diouf and Supachai Panitchpakdi, in which the authors share their visions of the major challenges facing developing countries and the best solutions to address them. In 2010, he published two books: "Idées reçues sur le développement", with Jean-Michel Debrat, with the Cavalier Bleu, and "Le temps de l'Afrique", with Olivier Ray, with Odile Jacob.  "Le grand basculement", also co-written with Olivier Ray, was released in 2011, again by Odile Jacob. Finally, his book on African entrepreneurship, "Entreprenante Afrique", written with Jérémy Hajdenberg, was also published in 2017 by Odile Jacob.

SAM conference

Joana Silva Afonso

Joana Silva Afonso
Doctor et lecturer, University of Portsmouth, UK;

Joana is a trained Economist and experienced Microfinance professional, both as practitioner and researcher. She has finished the European Microfinance Programme (EMP) with "Grande Distinction". The programme included a three month experience in Dominican Republic where she developed her thesis: "The role of loan officers in the prevention of overindebtedness - the case of Banco ADOPEM", and contributed to the research project “Microfinance in Crisis”, funded by the European Investment Bank.

Research Meets Africa


Laura Viganò

Laura Viganó
Professor of Banking at the University of Bergamo, Italy

Laura has been Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business administration from 2007 to 2012. 
From 2001 to 2010, she launched and directed the first international Master in Microfinance, jointly offered by the University of Bergamo, CIPSI (an Italian NGO’s network), and Giordano Dell’Amore Foundation (Finafrica-Milan, where she was Scientific Director). She currently coordinates the “FinDev-Finance and Development” research group at the University of Bergamo and is editor of the Journal “Savings and Development”.  She consults for research institutes and international development agencies, with major experiences in Africa.
Her research interests comprise credit risk management and credit scoring, ethics and finance, microfinance, agricultural and rural finance (she spent a  study and research period at  The Ohio State University – Rural Finance Group), risks and insurance (among others: disaster risk management, index-based insurance). She recently conducted a research project in Ethiopia on farmer vulnerability to (climatic) risks.

Research Meets Africa


Dirk Andreas Zetzsche

Dirk Andreas Zetzsche
ADA Chair in Financial Law-Inclusive Finance, University of Luxembourg

Chairholder Prof. Zetzsche, LLM (Toronto), is professor of law as well as study director of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Law and Regulation of Inclusive Finance since March 2016. Since July 2012, Professor Zetzsche is also one of the (non-executive) directors of the Centre for Business and Corporate Law at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Prof. Zetzsche completed his law studies at Heinrich Heine University, where he obtained a Doctor of law in 2004 on securities and corporate law, after having completed his LLM at the University of Toronto in Canada. While at Heinrich Heine University, he also completed his award-winning habilitation thesis on collective investment schemes in 2012 and was granted the venia legendi for private law, business law, comparative law, law and economics as well as law and ethics, before being called upon to take over the Propter Homines Chair of Banking and Securities Law at the University of Liechtenstein in 2012.

Research Meets Africa



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