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.
Program Officer, EPIC
Karlene Francis is a Program Officer for the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) in the World Bank Office in Jamaica. She coordinates the implementation of EPIC in collaboration with the infoDev team.
Karlene has twenty five years extensive experience working in the private sector, public sector and international financial institutions in the Caribbean. This includes fifteen years’ experience in project management in a multi-stakeholder environment. She was the Technical Lead for the design of four IDB projects for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and also supervised projects in several other sectors in the Jamaica portfolio. As a Senior Director of the Government of Jamaica, she was responsible for the ICT portfolio and led the development of the national and regional policies / strategies. Before joining the infoDev team, she held the position of Programme Manager for the IDB funded Harmonized Caribbean Spectrum Management Project.
Karlene has a MSc in Computer Based Management Information System and a BSc in Computer Studies (Computer Science and Management) both from the University of the West Indies. She is a Project Management Professional and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management.
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
Yehia Eldozdar joins infoDev as the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist and is tasked to design, implement and evaluate results frameworks for our programs, which entails working with our team, clients and end beneficiaries.
Prior to joining infoDev, Yehia was part of IFC’s Investment Climate team in the MENA region where he spent seven years working on a number of business regulatory reform projects in Egypt, Lebanon and West Bank and Gaza. He also worked on developing a number of impact estimation models for IFC advisory products including business regulation, business edge and credit bureaus. Yehia also worked with the global Jobs team on executing two impact estimation studies for Financial institutions and Agri business for IFC investments in Lebanon and Egypt respectively. Before joining the World Bank group, Yehia worked for seven years as an SME Policy Development Specialist in the Office of the Ministries of Economy, Foreign Trade & Finance in Egypt. His work included consultations with the private sector on issues related to SME definition, legal and regulatory matters facing enterprises from start-up to operations to exit and the drafting of policy papers related to those issues.
Yehia holds an MSc in Economic Development & International Trade from the University of Reading in the UK and a BA in Economics from the American University in Cairo.
Mobile Innovation Specialist
Maja is interested in the potential of entrepreneurship and human ingenuity to contribute to economic, environmental and social development. She has spent over 12 years connecting these fields, including as product manager in a web-technology startup, lead researcher at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and counselor for Canada for the World Bank Group. Since 2009, she has worked to expand infoDev’s mobile innovation program, including by extending our offering to better serve women founders of tech startups in emerging and frontier markets. Maja is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Oxford under Professor Bill Dutton, with a focus on innovation ecosystems and with support from Oxford University Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Innovation Specialist
Program Analyst, Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC)
Danqing Zhu joined infoDev as Program Analyst for the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC). She supports the development and implementation of EPIC and provides operational support to other programs under infoDev. Danqing has a long-term commitment to innovation, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship. In her previous roles within the South Asia Sustainable Development Department and the Global Civil Society Team at the World Bank, Danqing contributed to the preparation and implementation of several investment lending projects, as well as Bank-wide stakeholder engagement activities. She also had experience in UNESCO Beijing Office and Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in Hubli, India. Danqing holds a MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a L.L.B in International Studies and Sociology from Peking University.