Katja Silva-Leander is a Director at DAI, specializing in inclusive economic growth, with 17 years of experience working in the financial services and international development fields. She comes from a family of international development practitioners. Her Chilean father and Swedish mother both set the path for their children after working many years at UNESCO in Paris. With her brother subsequently at the United Nations Development Programme and her sister with the World Bank, Katja was initially the only one to choose a different career, as she decided to become an investment banker after graduating from business school. But after five years working at Credit Suisse in London, she decided to go back to school and re-train as an international development practitioner. After graduating from Columbia University, she went on to work for a number of international organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations and the U.K. Department for International Development.

Since changing careers, Katja has specialized in the field of inclusive economic growth, covering a number of related areas, including business enabling environment, financial inclusion and Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P). In addition, she has worked on several challenge funds—matching grant schemes that use a venture capital approach to invest in bottom-of-the-pyramid business models. Prior to joining DAI, she also worked for a social impact investor looking at equity and debt investments in similar types of business models. Katja is now managing the Economic Growth practice at DAI’s U.K. offices, focusing primarily on European donors, but also on international financial institutions and private sector clients.

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