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About the Financial and Private Sector Development team

We focus on scoping, designing, implementing, and assessing programmes to increase finance and market access for poor households and small-to-medium businesses, capacity building state and non-state actors, and facilitating policy dialogue.

Financial sector development

Over the last two decades, the link between financial sector deepening and pro-poor growth has been firmly established. As a result, concepts such as finance for growth and finance for all have moved into the foreground of debates around poverty reduction.

Translating these concepts into action however, involves selecting the most appropriate intervention, matching strategies to local circumstances and building the capacity of financial sector regulators and financial institutions, from commercial banks to local savings groups.

Oxford Policy Management has been extensively engaged at both the analytical and strategic levels, working with governments, regulators, development institutions, and the private sector to help devise and define relevant approaches to building strong, sustainable, and inclusive financial service sectors.


  • We analyse access to financial services and policies to improve sustainable access, particularly in the context of national poverty reduction strategies.
  • We assess the financial soundness and efficiency of financial systems, including identification of factors that can contribute to financial instability and ineffective financial sector performance.
  • We support financial institutions, and particularly commercial banks and DFIs, to develop policies, procedures, products, and delivery channels that help to widen financial inclusion and generate development benefits for client populations.
  • We assess the design and performance of supporting agencies to the financial sector, such as regulatory authorities, capacity building organisations, guarantee funds, deposit insurance agencies, credit bureaus, and digital financial services.
  • We evaluate financial inclusion programmes and organisations in terms of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and impact.
  • We conduct research on financial sector and financial inclusion issues, including financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment and the operation of credit markets.

Private sector development

It is now widely accepted that a thriving private sector can make a significant contribution to the achievement of development goals. However, there is no simple recipe for creating the right regulatory and business environment for the private sector to develop in a way which benefits low-income and vulnerable groups. It requires an in-depth understanding of the local business landscape, the official and unofficial rules, and the political economy, to enable the key factors constraining private sector development to be identified and addressed.

Our experience working in developing countries, combined with specific expertise in private sector and regional development, means we can help donors, regulators, government, and enterprises gain the insights they need.

We approach the issues from the perspectives of both the public and private sectors, looking not only at developing public policy but also understanding the motivations and needs of businesses from microenterprises to multinationals.


  • We analyse how to improve access to, and the functioning of, a broad range of commodity and service markets especially for poor people and small enterprises using a range of techniques, including value chain analysis, commercial assessments, and political economy analysis.
  • Having been involved in the conceptual development of M4P in the early 2000s, we have an interest in applying this approach in innovative contexts. OPM has worked on the interface between market development thinking and humanitarian situations, women’s economic empowerment, and the provision of low-cost ‘public good’ services.
  • We conduct research on market development issues to generate information as a ‘public good’ to support the private sector and the market development community of practitioners.
  • We scope, design, and review private sector development components of multi-sector programmes, such as livelihood, agriculture, urban, and trade programmes.
  • We develop private sector development policies and strategies.
  • We scope, design, and review challenge funds, from the design of fund objectives and procedures to the fund management function and evaluation of impact.

Team members

The Financial and Private Sector Development team is led by Jonathan Mitchell

Constantin Albot, Consultant
Constantin’s main focus is financial inclusion and the identification of innovative product delivery channels. Prior to joining OPM Constantin worked for the Bank of South Sudan as an ODI Fellow. His development experience is combined with capital markets experience at Goldman Sachs International Constantin holds a BA in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford and an MSc in International Trade, Finance and Development from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

Christine Bowers, Senior Consultant
Christine Bowers leads OPM’s work on the business-enabling environment. As an economist, she has advised governments on investment climate and economic competitiveness issues to help attract private sector investment. Investment policy, regulatory reform, commercial mediation and arbitration, tax administration and public-private dialogue are her areas of particular expertise. Prior to joining OPM, Christine worked as a staff member of the World Bank/IFC Trade & Competitiveness global practice.

Jenny Congrave, Consultant
Jenny’s main interests are projects employing a markets systems approach, women’s economic empowerment and agriculture. Jenny is knowledgeable in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and has experience of survey design and management in rural Ghana. Jenny has a Development Studies MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies,as well as the Project Management for Development Professionals qualification PMDPro.

Andrzej Dabkowski, Consultant
Andrzej is a development economist and a Local Economic Development (LED) facilitator with significant project management experience. Andrzej’s main interests include local and regional economic development and market systems development and he increasingly focuses on green development and sustainable urban economic development. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Economic Science from the National University of Ireland, University College Cork, and is a PhD researcher.

Janet Hayes, Senior Consultant
Janet is an experienced project manager with extensive experience in microfinance and financial inclusion projects. Janet was previously Programme Administration Manager for OPM’s Economic Policy Programme and was responsible for managing the administration of projects throughout the project cycle and liaising with donors. Before working at OPM, Janet lived in Tanzania, working as a consultant and Programme Manager.

Sonia Pietosi, Consultant
Sonia’s specialism is financial inclusion, in agricultural and rural finance, gender and energy finance. Sonia assessed access to finance opportunities and constraints for agri-SMEs in the cashew value chain in Benin. She contributed to the improvement of customer experience at a women-oriented MFI in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and led an evaluation of the Access to Rural Finance in Burkina Faso. Sonia holds a Masters in Microfinance from the Solvay Business School and a Masters in Economics from the University of Cagliari, Italy.

William Smith, Principal Consultant
William specialises in private sector development, financial inclusion and trade. William was team leader of the Private Sector and Markets programme at the Overseas Development Institute where he led work on business engagement. He has focused on work in Southeast Asia, where he has worked as a practitioner, researcher, consultant and foundation staff in Vietnam and Indonesia. He has a BA in History from Cambridge University and an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from SOAS.

Naveed Somani, Consultant
Naveed’s main interests are financial inclusion, and monitoring and evaluation systems. He worked for the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) and Plan-International UK on the Banking on Change youth savings group initiative. Naveed is trained in Results Based Management, and familiar with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. He holds an MA (Oxon) in Law from the University of Oxford, and an MA with merit in International Relations, Economics and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Countries we have worked in

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • DRC
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • Pakistan
  • Rwanda
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia