Valerie D'Costa is infoDev's Program Manager. She has led infoDev’s evolution from its original founding focus on information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) to current its role as a “learning lab” and convener for donors, client countries, and public and private sector actors around the innovation, technology and entrepreneurship agendas. The vision Ms D’Costa promotes for infoDev’s role today is to derive and test new approaches to support the growth of innovative, technology enabled new ventures; provide cutting-edge knowledge, networks and tools to developing countries to navigate these dynamic market and technology evolutions; collate lessons from success and ‘failure’ in the field; and promote the adoption and scaling of interesting and innovative new approaches that work by the World Bank, donors and other development partners.
Ms D’Costa believes strongly in the promise and potential of innovative new ventures to create transformative, profitable and locally relevant solutions in their markets. She advocates infoDev’s grassroots approach to support these actors via start-up support facilities that give them access to mentoring, equipment, technical assistance, potential partners, and early-stage financing. She believes that by staying true to this ‘bottom-up’ approach, infoDev makes a unique difference and a significant contribution to the World Bank’s goals of alleviating poverty, growing jobs and livelihoods, supporting the growth of a strong private sector, and enhancing inclusive, sustainable development.
Before joining infoDev, Ms. D’Costa served as the Director of the International Division at the Info-Communication Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), where she formulated the Singapore Government's policies on international ICT issues and oversaw Singapore’s bilateral relations with other countries on these issues. She received a Public Administration Medal from the Singapore Government for her work in building Singapore’s international ICT trade and diplomatic ties. Ms. D’Costa had a distinguished career in private legal practice before joining her country’s nation-building efforts in government service at IDA.
Ms. D’Costa holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Laws degree from University College, University of London.
Agribusiness Innovation Analyst
Julia assists our team in the implementation of our program of collaboration with the government of Finland and Nokia. She was previously a Project Manager at the European Business and Innovation Centre Network, where she managed international projects on business incubation. Before that, she worked for the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union where she worked on EU policies related to competitiveness, research and innovation. She holds a MSc in European Communities and Union Law and a MSc in European Political and Public Affairs.
Ellen leads the Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy program (CSBKE) funded by Finland. The program promotes the growth of early-stage enterprises in the Mekong, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Ellen also supports the Program Manager with infoDev’s strategy and business development efforts. For example, Ellen initiated infoDev’s new work on agribusiness innovation, which aims to accelerate the growth of innovative, value adding agribusiness enterprises in developing countries, starting in Africa. She is also leading an assessment for a future work program in North Africa and the Middle East. Before joining infoDev, Ellen was a consultant to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), working on grassroots business development and social entrepreneurship. Ellen has worked as product and partnership manager for other organizations in the public and private sector, and has experience in designing and managing both global, regional and country-level information and technology (IT) projects (Angola, Morocco and Tanzania). Ellen has an MBA in International Finance and an MA in International Affairs focused on Sub-Saharan Africa.