IfAD Public Talk Series

Our speakers are leading national and international experts and policymakers who talk about the economic and development issues, challenges, and opportunities of our time. The talks are open to general audience, and all are encouraged to attend.


Speaker:Kenneth Chomitz, Chief Analytics Officer
Rachna Chowdhuri, Senior Director, Analytics
Global Innovation Fund
Time:12:30-2:00 PM (AZ), 30 April 2021

Bio: Kenneth Chomitz is Chief Analytics Officer at the GIF, responsible for developing systems for monitoring, evaluation, analysis and learning that maximizes the impact of GIF’s approach of piloting, testing, and scaling innovations. He joined the GIF after a distinguished career in research and evaluation at the World Bank. He is innovator in applied economics, he has published pioneering work in the economics of climate change, biodiversity, and deforestation, and has worked also in health and labor. He was a co-author of the 2016 World Development Report, Digital Dividends.As Senior Advisor and member of the leadership team in the World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group, he led major evaluations of the Bank’s efforts in energy policy, climate change mitigation, and adaptation; reviewed evaluations across all sectors; and contributed to innovation in methodology.

He holds an BSc in Mathematics from MIT and a PhD in Economics from UC Irvine. Prior to joining the World Bank, he was a National Research Council Fellow; Assistant Professor of Economics at Boston University; and Senior Advisor with the Development Studies Project, a Jakarta-based policy advisory group.

Rachna Chowdhuri is a Senior Director, Analytics, at GIF with experience in research, evaluation and evidence-based policy making across South Asia, South East Asia, Southern and West Africa. Her expertise is in Social Protection, Gender, Education and Health. Prior to joining GIF, she worked on Social Protection and Jobs at the World Bank in Zambia and Nigeria, as the Country Director at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Zambia, and as a Research Manager at J-PAL South Asia. Rachna started her career as an economist for an innovative social enterprise working with small farmers in Vietnam and Laos. Rachna holds a MA in Economics from University of Sussex and a BA in Economics from Delhi University.


It is a non-profit innovation fund, headquartered in London with an office in Washington D.C., an evidence-based, venture-capital-inspired fund for improving the lives of the poorest people in developing countries. It invests in the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations targeted at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.

Approach: It invests in a range of innovations with strong potential for social impact at a large scale. It defines ‘innovation’ broadly to include new business models, policy practices, technologies, behavioral insights, or ways of delivering products and services that benefit the poor in developing countries — any solution that has potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches.

How it works: Through grants, loans and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million, the GIF backs innovations with the potential for social impact at a large scale, whether they are new technologies, business models, policy practices, technologies or behavioral insights. It supports innovators at all stages of their life cycle, from start-up and pilot-testing through to larger scale implementation. The innovations it funds can be located in any developing country and can focus on any sector relevant to international development, provided they improve the lives of those living on less than $5 a day.

“We believe that the best ideas for solving some of the world’s most critical problems can come from anyone, anywhere. Through our grants and risk capital, we help breakthrough solutions to global development challenges from for-profit firms, non-profit organizations, researchers, and government agencies to maximize their impact and affect meaningful change.”

Global Innovation Fund

Insights from economics, law, and behavioral sciences to inform identification and designs of effective development policies and programs to promote agency and economic development.

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