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Meet the Team

The Enabling the Business of Agriculture team consists of following experts shown in alphabetical order below.


Preeti Ahuja

Preeti is the Practice Manager of the Global Engagements Unit and for Strategy and Operations in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice, anchoring key global partnerships including the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP), Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP), the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) Program.  Prior to joining the Bank, Ms. Ahuja worked for the private sector, including with the international consulting firm of Booz, Allen & Hamilton (BAH) and an Italian economic consultancy firm – Alpha c.s.e. She was also a Manager in the Controller’s Department of Ameritrust Bank – a then leading commercial bank in the U.S. Prior to this, she worked on an FAO fisheries trade program out of Cote d’Ivoire, and on Fisheries Sector trade promotion issues at FAO in Italy. She also worked as a consultant with the Inter- American Development Bank, working on Peruvian Agriculture and Fisheries issues. Preeti holds degrees in Economics/International Finance/Business Administration from Delhi University, Boston University and INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France).


Rong Chen

Rong joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in February 2014. She currently leads the Accessing Financial Services topic. Previously, Rong worked in the Doing Business project (2013 and 2014 reports) on debt enforcement and investment climate in fragile and conflict affected countries. Rong holds a Master of Public Administration degree with concentration on Economic Policy and Sustainable Finance from Cornell University and a Bachelor's degree on Liberal Arts from Renmin University of China. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she worked as an investment consultant for a US Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and as a research analyst at International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Switzerland. She speaks Chinese.



Dariga Chukmaitova

Dariga joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in August 2014, where she works on the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) topic and on contributors’ relations. Prior to joining the team, Dariga worked with the Human Development and the Financial and Private Sector Development Vice-Presidencies, Europe and Central Asia (ECA). She started her career at the World Bank by working for the Doing Business project and assisted with Registering Property indicator. Before joining the WB, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), GWU and has obtained more than eight years of both professional and academic experience while working in Washington, DC and Kazakhstan/Central Asia. Dariga holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Department of Politics & Policy of the Claremont Graduate University (CGU), Claremont, CA, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) Monterey, CA. She is fluent in English and Russian, as well as conversational in Kazakh.



Davida Connon

Davida joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in September 2014, and currently leads the development of regulatory indicators for the Markets topic. Before joining the group, Davida worked as an international trade lawyer with a global law firm, both in Geneva and Washington, DC. Davida has expertise in WTO dispute settlement and negotiations, FTAs and bilateral trade issues, SPS, customs, and trade remedies, particularly in the fields of energy, the environment, and agriculture. Previously, she interned with the WTO Appellate Body, the European Commission’s WTO legal team, and another prominent law firm in Geneva. Davida holds an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School, and an LL.B. degree in law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Her native language is English and she is conversant in French.



Raian Divanbeigi

Raian joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in October 2013. He currently serves as a project coordinator, mainly focused on methodology and data. He used to lead the Access to finance topic. Prior to joining the team, Raian was part of the Doing Business team at the World Bank Group where he led the Employing Workers indicator. Before joining the World Bank Group he worked at ActionAid International where he conducted research on Policy Coherence for Development. He also worked for the Office of International Affairs of the regional government of Tuscany as an advisor on Aid Effectiveness. In 2007 Raian worked in India on a development project by LAMA development cooperation agency. He holds a master's degree in Development Economics and a bachelor's degree in Economic Development and International Cooperation from the University of Florence. Raian speaks Italian and Farsi and conversant in French and Spanish.



Soha Eshraghi

Soha joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in September 2014, where she currently works on the Fertilizer and Agricultural Mechanization topics. Prior to joining the World Bank, Soha worked with public health development organizations such as Microclinic International, where she analyzed programs and health curriculum. Previous to that, she worked at Uganda Village Project where she was in charge of monitoring and evaluating health and sanitation programs. She holds a degree in Political Science, with a focus on comparative politics and International Development, from the University of California, Berkeley.



Pilar Fernandez

Pilar joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in January 2016, where she works on the development of regulatory indicators for the Environmental Sustainability topic. Previously, she served as minister counselor for economic affairs at the Embassy of Colombia in Washington DC, where she engaged U.S. government agencies and other stakeholders to advance bilateral trade and investment. Prior to this, she worked as an economic advisor to the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, a non-profit organization that works to improve the competitiveness and well-being of over 500,000 Colombian coffee farmers and their families. Pilar holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in Economics from Universidad de los Andes (Colombia).


Felix Frewer

Felix joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in August 2014 to work on the development of livestock indicators. Before joining the team, Felix was a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and a Carlo-Schmid Fellow in the Office of the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Felix worked with the African Cashew iniative (ACi) in Ghana on strengthening the West African cashew value chain and leading the development of a stakeholder platform of key players in the Ghanaian cashew industry. He holds a master’s degree in Development Economics and a double bachelor’s degree in business administration and business economics. Felix is fluent in German, Spanish, English, and speaks basic in French.



Arnau Gallard-Agusti

Arnau joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in February 2013 where he leads the fertilizer and the agricultural mechanization topics. Prior to joining the team Arnau worked at the IFC’s Investment Climate Department, was head of Venair’s Middle East office in Dubai and worked for the Catalan Government’s trade office in Cairo. He also worked for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Plan International Guatemala, and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. He holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of York, UK and an IB diploma from UWC Swaziland. Arnau speaks Spanish and Catalan, and is conversant in French and Arabic.



Bill Garthwaite

Bill joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in June 2015, where he supports the development of indicators for Access to Water. Before joining the World Bank Group, he worked as an international legal consultant for FAO, the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), UNIDROIT, and UNITAR. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from MIT, and a J.D. and LL.M in International and Comparative Law from Cornell University.



Tulia Gattone

Tulia joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in March 2016, where she currently works on the development of regulatory indicators for the transport topic. Prior to joining the EBA Team, she worked for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) in Syracuse, New York and the Implementation Support Unit of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Geneva, Switzerland. Tulia holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Security Studies from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor degree with the highest honors in International Economics, Management and Finance from Bocconi University. Tulia is fluent in English, Italian and French.


Graham Hamley

Graham joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in December 2015, where he supports the development of indicators for Access to Water. Before Joining the World Bank Group, Graham worked as a legal consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the University of Edinburgh, and as a project manager at CDP. Graham’s areas of expertise include corporate climate change policy and veterinary legislation, with a primary focus upon animal health. He holds an LL.B. in law from the University of Dundee, and an LL.M. in Global Environment and Climate Change Law from the University of Edinburgh.


Edna Massay Kallon

Edna joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in August 2013 where she leads the livestock topic. Prior to joining the team, Edna worked with the Corporate Executive Board, a best practices research firm for Fortune 500 and 100 business companies, the World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group on private sector project evaluations and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization with the Iraq country office. Edna holds a master's degree in International Relations and Economics with a degree focusing on finance and development from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.



Marina Kayumova

Marina joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in February 2015. She works on the development of indicators for information and communication technology topic. Prior to joining the team, Marina was a Research Fellow at George Washington University. Previously she worked for GSM Association in London and European Parliament in Brussels. Marina has experience in research and emerging economies. She holds a Master of Philosophy in Innovation, Strategy and Organization from the University of Cambridge, UK and a Master in Advanced European Studies and International Relations from the European Institute, France. Marina is fluent in English, French and Russian.



Maksat Korooluev

Maksat joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in May 2016 where he works on Agricultural Mechanization topic. Prior to joining the World Bank Maksat worked with the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) as a team leader for regional trade facilitation program in the Kyrgyz Republic. He advised public sector institutions and focused on building foreign trade Single Windows, support to national quality infrastructure and quality management systems for SMEs. Maksat also has experience with retail banking sector in Kazakhstan. Maksat holds Master’s degree in Public Policy from University of Maryland (USA) and Bachelor’s degree in Economics from American University in Central Asia. He is fluent in English, Russian and Kyrgyz.


Alva Kretschmer

Alva joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in January 2013 where she leads the agricultural mechanization and fertilizer topics. Prior to joining the team, Alva worked on the World Bank project on operationalizing the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI), as well as in the World Bank’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Before joining the World Bank, Alva worked at a regional German Representation at the EU in Brussels, primarily on Regional Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU, as well as at the European Parliament. Alva holds a Master’s degree in European Studies and International Relations from the Universities of Siena, Athens and Strasbourg, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Erfurt. She speaks German and Italian, and is conversant in Spanish and French.


Thibault Meilland

Thibault joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in October 2013. He currently works on the Selling Agricultural Goods topic and the Gender topic. Prior to joining the team, Thibault was part of the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law project where he led the Building credit, Going to Court and Providing Incentives to Work topics. Before joining the World Bank Group, Thibault worked at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Thibault holds a M.A. in Comparative Politics from Sciences Po, and a M.A. in International Economics and Conflict Management from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.



Jean-Philippe Lodugnon-Harding

Jean-Philippe joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in December 2014, where he leads the Seed and the Environmental Sustainability topic teams. Jean-Philippe was part of the Doing Business team at the World Bank where he worked for the Employing Workers indicators and other regional reports such as Doing Business in the East African Community. Before joining the World Bank Group, he worked as a structured finance attorney in several global law firms in Paris, focusing on infrastructure and energy projects in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a LL.B (hons) from the Sheffield Hallam University, received a master's degree in business and competition law from the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne and a master's degree in banking and finance law from the University of Paris Panthéon-Assas. Jean-Philippe is admitted to the Paris bar. He is fluent in French and English.



Esperanza Pastor

Esperanza joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in October 2015, where she works on the Accessing Financial Services topic. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she worked as a lawyer in Spain specializing in commercial and private law. Esperanza holds a Law degree from University of Murcia in Spain. She is a LL.M. in International Legal Studies candidate at American University Washington College of Law with a focus on Business, Arbitration and Trade and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the UNED University. Esperanza is admitted to the Spanish bar. Esperanza is fluent in English, French and Spanish, conversant in German and speaks basic Portuguese.



Nina Paustian

Nina Paustian joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team as a Private Sector Development Specialist in February 2014. She recently moved to the Malaysia Country Office to lead the data collection efforts in the region as well as to advance the research agenda. Previously, Nina worked on the Paying Taxes indicator of the Doing Business project. Prior to joining the World Bank Group in 2012, she worked with the German Development Cooperation as an advisor on public finance to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany and Tanzania, with a focus on regional tax harmonization and trade facilitation. She has also worked with the International Trade Center in Geneva on trade competitiveness and non-tariff measures.



Federica Saliola

Federica is a Program Manager in the WBG Development Economics Vice-Presidency. Federica is responsible for developing programs that measure regulations and regulatory processes that are critical for private sector companies when entering and operating in the market, and she has been leading the Enabling the Business of Agriculture program since 2013. Prior to this, Federica was the Program Coordinator of World Bank Group's Enterprise Surveys project. Enterprise Surveys provide the world's most comprehensive company-level data for emerging markets and developing economies. Her past work experiences include work at the World Bank Development Economics Research Group and the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa Region. Federica holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Rome III. Her previous research focused on comparative analysis of measurements of policy and regulatory issues, business environment, value chains, firm productivity, and private sector development.


Ana Santillana

Ana joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in December 2015. She holds a Licentiate Degree in Economics from the Autonomous University of Madrid, a Master's Degree in International Business Management from the Center for Economic and Commercial Studies (CECO) in Madrid and a Master's Degree in Global Development Economics from Boston University. Before joining the World Bank Group, Ms. Santillana Farakos worked on the Dealing with Construction Permits indicator for Doing Business, as an economic and trade analyst at the Economic and Commercial Office of Spain in Ottawa and as a research associate at the OECD Development Center in Paris. She speaks Spanish.


Sara Savastano

Sara is Senior Economist at DECSI. She joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture in January 2016, and currently works as topic leader for land. She is assistant professor in economics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata currently on leave. After working, from 2001 to 2005 at the Development Research Group of the World Bank, she served as an Economist at the Public Investment Evaluation Unit of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance until 2008. She is secretary general of ICABR, the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research. Her research focuses on land policies and institutions, rural development, agriculture efficiency and productivity, technology adoption. She has been consultant to FAO, World Bank, IFPRI, UNIDO; Enam, Ambrosetti s.r.l., , Alpetunnel GEIE,; Italian Ministry of Labor. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Rome Tor Vergata.


Samjhana Thapa

Samjhana Thapa joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in January 2013 and currently leads the access to water topic. Prior to EBA, Samjhana worked on the Agribusiness Indicators Program, a precursor of EBA which was a research project focused in Africa that generated indicators and produced country studies that assessed the enabling environment for agribusiness. Previously, Samjhana worked as a consultant in the Bank and with UN agencies, where she undertook policy and operational reviews of agriculture projects. She has also worked in the World Bank’s country office in Nepal. Samjhana holds an MBA from the University of Bridgeport, CT and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, MD, USA.


Tea Trumbic

Tea joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in November 2012. She serves as project coordinator and used to lead the development of the regulatory indicators for access to markets topic. Prior to joining the EBA team, Tea worked for the Doing Business project leading the work for the Paying Taxes and Getting Credit indicators. Tea's work has focused on regulatory framework analysis of the business environment in several countries globally, including extensive work on Eastern European and Central Asian countries. Tea also worked at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Croatia and the International Monetary Fund. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics. Tea is fluent in English and Serbo-Croatian and is conversant in French.


César Chaparro Yedro

César joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in September 2013. He currently serves as a project coordinator, mainly focused on methodology and data-related aspects. He used to lead the Transporting Agricultural Goods and the Access to Markets topics. César joined the World Bank Group in May 2007. He was the topic leader for the Employing Workers indicator in the Doing Business project (2007-2011) and worked with the Investment Climate Department (2011- 2013), providing technical assistance to client Governments on business regulations and competition reforms, both economy-wide and in specific sectors, such as transport, public procurement, retail and agribusiness. He holds a law degree and an economics degree from Carlos III University in Spain and spent one year of his studies at the University of Perugia in Italy. César obtained a master's degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Belgium and is a PhD candidate in Economics. Prior to joining the World Bank, he practiced European and antitrust law at Garrigues law firm and worked as the legal advisor to the Colgate-Palmolive Company. He is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian.


Farbod Youssefi

Farbod is Program Coordinator with the Global Engagements Unit in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice. Before joining the World Bank, he spent the last decade working with several organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Food Logistics Organization, The Postharvest Education Foundation, with international assignments in Cape Verde, Kenya, India, Ghana, Egypt, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, among others, mainly on post-harvest processes and small farmer market linkages with agricultural businesses. Farbod worked with the horticultural export industry in Chile advising transnational companies, primarily on postharvest management and the introduction of best practices. He has worked in the private sector, specifically as a senior manager of a Latin American based company on ICT and learning. Farbod obtained his M.Sc. in International Agricultural Development and his Ph.D. in Integrated Crop Physiology at the University of California at Davis. He went on to direct the University’s international development programs in agriculture, food systems and nutrition for 7 years. He is fluent in both Spanish and English.


Geyi Zheng

Geyi joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project in July 2015, where she currently works on the development of regulatory indicators for the land topic. Before joining the land topic, she interned for connecting farmers to information (ICT) topic since September 2014. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she worked as research analysts for Bain & Company and Mckinsey & Company in Shanghai. She holds a B.Sc. in Economics from University College London with a year abroad in Columbia University and a Master of Public Administration from Cornell University. Geyi speaks Mandarin Chinese, English and has a basic working knowledge of Spanish.


Yucheng Zheng

Yucheng Zheng joined the Enabling the Business of Agriculture team in November 2012, where she currently works on the Access to Markets topic. Previously, Yucheng worked for the Doing Business project on the Dealing with Construction Permits indicator. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she had professional experiences with United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and a global investment management firm. She holds an MPA degree in Finance and Economic Policy from Cornell University, and a bachelor's degree in Economics and Korean Studies from Peking University. She speaks Chinese and is advanced in Korean.