Md Ashraful Alam
Digital Finance Forum Bangladesh
Ashraful is a career development finance professional with more than 25+ years of experience in delivering results in the private, public, and development sector. He spent his career designing and implementing development projects and programs with a particular focus on financial inclusion, regulation, MSME and entrepreneurship development, Digital Economy, and Digital Financial Services. He spent 15+ years of his career as a financial sector regulator and supervisor and has also worked at UNCDF as a Country Coordinator for Bangladesh. During his 4 years tenure with UNCDF he worked in identifying the intersection of technology and market-based business models focusing on the bottom of the pyramid population, smallholder farmers, women, and micro and small enterprises (MSEs) as clients.
Ashraful also held a position with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), where he was a working group chair and represented Bangladesh in global forums on MSME development and financial Inclusion. He’s worked on public-private sector collaborations, including with the SME Foundation in Bangladesh, and established a platform for promoting inclusive digital economy development whilst at UNCDF.
Ashraful has a strong understanding and demonstrated ability in financial sector regulation, regulatory reform, policy advocacy, innovation, and digital financial inclusion. He has an MBA in Finance, BSc (Hons) in Natural Resources Management, is a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner from Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), and a fellow of the Fletcher School Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion from the Fletcher School at the Tufts University, USA. He is also DFI’s Asia Regional Community of Practice Facilitator for Financial Regulators and Supervisors. He was awarded Bangladesh Bank Gold Medal, judged the best employee in one category, and received an AFI Award in 2015.
Ashraful currently focuses on Inclusive Digital Economy development, market-based innovations, MSMEs development with a particular focus on women, and data driven decision making in the financial services space.
Alliance of Digital Finance Associations
Sarah is CEO of the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations and Divisional Director at Digital Frontiers where she heads the Community and Professional Development Division. Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in leading capacity building, community development and knowledge management focused on facilitating change. She has an MA in HR Management, BSc in Psychology and spent the first ten years of her career delivering training and team building for individuals and teams before moving into organisational development, strategy, and transformation.
Her current focus is catalysing the development of the digital finance profession. Sarah led the formation of national associations in thirteen countries in Africa and Asia. She was instrumental in bringing peers together and supporting them through writing constitutions, developing a brand, legally registering, attracting members, and implementing actions to make impact in their countries. She also facilitates a variety of activities to ensure the continual development of digital finance professionals through webinars, podcasts, blogs, a cultivated knowledge bank and a highly engaged LinkedIn group.
She then went on to found the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations, the collective voice leading the inclusive digital finance profession, with membership including the above national associations. The Alliance is facilitating the exchange of best practice and driving innovation and inclusion. The Alliance has already received interest from well-known global organisations wishing to join or partner.
She also created the Pathway to 17 Summit brand, and successfully delivered its first e-conference. She is now working on options for growth including bringing new streams of content relating to the SDGs and income generation through sponsorship.
Previous projects include increasing the operational efficiency, staff and patient satisfaction in various NHS departments whilst simultaneously reducing costs and supporting an NGO in Nigeria pivot in their business model to provide stability in income and change in organisational leadership and culture. She was also Director of an award-winning volunteer tourism business operating across multiple countries.
FINTECH.MZ – Mozambique Fintech Association
João Gaspar has over 35 years of experience in the design, implementation, and management of business and services in the sectors of telecommunications, information systems, digital banking, and electronic payments. He worked for 16 years in Sociedade Interbancária de Serviços (SIBS), the Portuguese interbank switch, as director of the systems department and responsible for the ATM, POS, and interbank network as well as the international connections with SWIFT, VISA, and other interbank processors in Europe. He worked for 8 years for Portugal Telecom as Head of Outsourcing Business, a unit created to manage the top corporate banking service contracts in the country.
Since 2009 João has been a consultant for digital financial services and payment systems in the African continent where he developed several projects for the Department of Payment Systems of Bank de Angola. For Banco de Moçambique he worked as a senior consultant team leader in the strategic definition and implementation procedures for the new national interbank switch.
In the past 6 years, he has conducted DFS consulting projects for FSD Mozambique, Boston Consulting Group, World Bank, and Finance for Impact, in the areas of interoperability, DFS regulations, business models and tariffs, mobile money payment platform for MSMEs in Angola, assessment, and evaluation of a financial inclusion framework program in Mozambique, just to mention a few.
Residing in Maputo since 2013, João is currently CEO and founder of Paytek-Africa, the first licensed Fintech in the country, and chairperson of the Mozambique FinTech Association. He is also a member of the Digital Financial Services working group of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, and Digital Frontiers Institute’s Community of Practice Facilitator for Mozambique.
João has a degree in Electronic Engineering and Telecommunications from the Higher Institute of Engineering in Lisbon, having several specialization courses in technology and business leadership, namely in Digital Financial Services. He holds a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner certification from Digital Frontiers Institute certified by The Fletcher School at Tufts University, USA.
João defines itself as an active promoter of behavioural transformation for the implementation of a digital economy supported by innovation, open access, and low-cost services to increase financial inclusion, and the elimination of social and gender gaps, thus contributing to a significant increase in the population’s quality of life.
Deputy Director on the Financial Services for the Poor initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Jason Lamb is a Deputy Director on the Financial Services for the Poor initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He leads the teams’ engagement in key focus countries across East and West Africa, and South and South-East Asia. During his tenure at the Gates Foundation, he has served as Board Member and Board Chair of the Better Than Cash Alliance; Board Member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and ExCom Member and Chair for CGAP. Prior to joining the foundation in 2009, Jason spent six years at Washington Mutual Bank where he managed the Consumer Checking portfolio. Jason gained his initial experience in the financial sector and emerging economies during his seven years at McKinsey & Company, where he spent time advising banks in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and North America. He was a founding member of the McKinsey Budapest office. Jason holds a BA in Economics and History from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Jason is delighted to serve on the board of the Alliance for Digital Finance Associations. As FinTech becomes an important contributor to economic opportunity and financial inclusion, there is a need to ensure that it drives equitable and inclusive access to those outside the formal sector such that they can capture new economic opportunities that will help lift them from poverty. Digital Finance Associations have the opportunity to play an important role to advocate for an open ecosystem that lowers the cost to serve customers while ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected.
Director of Digital Economy at FSD Africa
Juliet is a development professional with over 20 years’ experience in Africa, primarily in financial sector development. She is currently Director, Digital Economy at FSD Africa, responsible for building and overseeing a portfolio of impactful programmes at the nexus of finance, technology and climate. In this role, she is particularly interested in the role that technology and finance can play in improving household resilience and livelihood opportunities and in strengthening economic value chains and enabling green-economic transformation more broadly.
Before taking up this role in 2021, Juliet held other positions at FSD Africa since 2013, overseeing initiatives that cut across various financial sector sectors and themes. One such initiative was Digital Frontiers Institute which FSD Africa co-funded the establishment of and which led, among other things, to the creation of the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations. She therefore has an intimate appreciation of the origin and purpose of the Alliance and is delighted to continue to support its work as a member of its Board.
Before FSD Africa, Juliet’s other roles included overseeing FinMark Trust’s work in Zambia and managing the Zambia office of a regional private sector development consulting firm. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Cheltenham and Gloucester, U.K. and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Liverpool, U.K. She is married with two children and is based in Zambia, where she has lived for the past 26 years.
Rob Ashley Madziva
The Association of Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) Tanzania
Rob has over 20 years’ business development and consultancy experience at C-suite level in Digital Financial Services, Payments, Oil & Gas, Banking, Media & Entertainment, Telecoms, Agriculture, Health, and Public Sectors across 20 African Markets. After working in the corporate world for over 15 years, Rob founded Digital Mobile Africa (DMA) Limited after seeing the opportunities for impact and growth in Africa lay in the Financially excluded, especially in rural areas where Agriculture is the biggest economic activity with a potential for changing lives. DMA is a data-driven last mile FinTech for Smallholder Agribusiness, MSME Retail Merchant and Regional Payments Specialist Consulting Company.
Rob is the Chief Strategist and Executive Director for DMA’s growth opportunities, leading business units, payments solutions strategy, digital product development, partner/vendor/regulator relations management and retail merchant acquisition. DMA has successfully acquired 8000 merchants, a base of 600,000 smallholder farmers and has over 20% active rate in a market new to cashless payments. He deployed a social banking platform for the food and agriculture ecosystem and established a farmer support services marketplace. DMA has continued to set the pace for Rural ecommerce and financial services access in Tanzania, investment has been secured and are now on a journey to bring interoperable payments and credit to agricultural value chains.
He is also pioneer Board member for the Association of Digital Finance Practitioners (ADFP) Tanzania, a member of the Tanzania Startup Association (TSA), and a member of the Mojaloop Product Council.
As a DFS Consultant, Rob focuses on supporting innovative and game changing initiatives that have great potential to drive business growth and access to life changing services to the underserved masses. He is a strong believer in Digital/Mobile Innovation as a potent catalyst to rapid economic growth, Financial Inclusion, International Development, Sustainability and Eradication of Poverty in Emerging Markets, especially for Sub-Saharan Product Management, Sales, Business Development, Agribusiness and SME Value Added Services, Project Partnership Management.
Rob Holds a Bachelor of Science, International Agribusiness Management from Royal Agricultural University and a Master of Computing Science Postgraduate Degree from Staffordshire University, UK. Rob owes his humble level of success and learnings to a wide network of mentors, advisors, and family support.
Lito Villanueva is the Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer of RCBC. Concurrently, he is the Chief Digital Transformation Advisor for the Yuchengco Group of Companies, one of the oldest conglomerates in Asia. He is also the founding chairperson of Fintech Alliance.ph, the Philippines’ largest organization of digitally enabled companies that generates over 90% of FinTech-initiated transactions volume in the country today.
He is the Philippines’ leading and award-winning thought leader on digital transformation and inclusive digital finance, with over 20 years of experience in banking, telecommunications, payments, development finance, advisory, regtech, and financial technology. In the span of his career, he has covered over 30 markets in Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa with his various roles in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Land Bank of the Philippines, PLDT-Smart Communications, Voyager Innovations, PayMaya, International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, and Visa. He changed the game by helping enable regulations in collaboration with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which promoted interoperability through the national retail payments system and made digital finance more inclusive through the adoption of a national strategy for financial inclusion and introduction of basic deposit accounts. As a digital inclusion and transformation advocate, he institutionalized the country’s first code of conduct and code of ethics, providing a wider industry framework towards greater consumer protection in partnership with all regulators.
He has merited over 70 global and regional awards for championing innovations on financial inclusion and scaling digital initiatives for the unbanked and underserved. These accolades include being named one of the Top 100 FinTech Leaders in Asia, Mr. Fintech of the Philippines by BizNewsAsia, as Chief Innovation of the Year by the London-based The Banker, and among the Top 100 Filipinos on LinkedIn in 2021.
He released various publications including The Uncharted Beyond: The Taxonomy of FinTech in the Philippines and the award-winning three volumes of the Inclusive Digital Finance Report. He is Chair of the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations, is a member of the Inclusion Executive Committee of the Global Impact FinTech (GIFT) Forum, Singapore-based AIBP Advisory Board, and the Management Association of the Philippines. He is also the founding president of the BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. Institute for Growth towards National Inclusion, Transformation, and Empowerment (IGNITE).
He finished the Cambridge Intellect Leadership Programme in 2019 on Digital Transformation by Design at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education in UK. He earned two graduate degrees: Master of Arts in public administration with magna cum laude honours from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Master in National Security Administration from the National Defence College of the Philippines as a state scholar, and its youngest graduate, thus far. His undergraduate degree is in political science also in UST.
Diana Akullu Wanyama
Digital Frontiers Association Uganda
Diana has over 11 years’ experience in Commercial banking and Technology. She is an expert in digital finance, product and project management, IT, and customer experience. She has been at the helm of intersecting business needs with technology demands and providing measurable results. She excels at forging partnerships with vendors and key stakeholders to ensure regular engagement and to develop specific solutions to market problems.
Diana is the current Chairperson and one of the founders of the Digital Frontiers Association (DFA) Uganda which fosters collaboration between all the stakeholders in the Digital Finance ecosystem. DFA influences policy and product innovation that fosters financial inclusion as a key enabler for social economic transformation and focusing on the underserved. Diana was also a member of the Steering Committee, the body that led the formation of the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations.
She is an author and speaker, having had pieces published in magazines including from the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services, and regularly discussing digital financial services and financial inclusion at events in Uganda. She also played a pivotal role in ensuring successful collaboration of stakeholders including the regulator, suppliers, and consumers on the topic of interoperability of digital payments in the African markets and coordinated inter-country discussions on how digital economies can help countries recover faster post covid.
Diana is currently Manager, Contact Centre at dfcu Bank where she is driving digital transformation in customer experience through digitizing the customer journey to both lower costs to serve and ensure that the customer interaction with these channels is smooth, convenient and hassle free. She has spearheaded the roll out of dfcu Bank Uganda’s innovative online banking platform, agency banking and has previously held roles in the bank’s IT department and E-banking department.
Diana is passionate about digital and transforming the lives of the people around her and her personal mantra is “Make things happen.” She has a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering and is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration at the Edinburgh Business School and becoming a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) with Digital Frontiers Institute and Tufts University.