Jason Zhengrong LuHead
Jason joined the GIF in 2015 as Lead Infrastructure Finance Specialist after working at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Group for 10 years. Jason became the Head of GIF in July 2017, and previously as Acting Head helping to transition the GIF from a start-up facility to the largest fund dedicated to the preparation and structuring of commercially viable infrastructure projects in developing countries, with a growing pipeline.
While at MIGA, Jason worked on a broad range of complex energy and infrastructure projects worldwide. He has built expertise in managing and closing complex projects and advising clients on infrastructure financing, risk mitigation, and credit enhancement to support their investment and financing needs in developing countries. Jason started his banking career with Bank of America in its Global Project Finance Group where he was responsible for transaction structuring and execution. He also worked at ABB Energy Capital on renewable energy financing in the United States, and at State Street Corporation. Jason, a Chinese national, holds graduate degrees from Yale University (MBA), Central European University (Prague), and China’s Peking University.
Juan Fernando Echeverri VargasSenior Infrastructure Finance Specialist
Juan has over 20 years of global experience in infrastructure initiatives and is responsible for the design and implementation of GIF’s Downstream Financing Window. Prior to joining the Global Infrastructure Facility, in November 2020, Juan spent eleven years at the Inter-American Development Bank Group, originating, structuring, and negotiating complex project finance transactions in Latin America and the Caribbean. This involved leading multicultural teams throughout the analysis/due diligence, documentation, and internal approval processes. As part of that role, Juan executed innovative financing structures, including loans, guarantees, and bond issuances, aimed at mobilizing cross-currency and capital markets solutions for emerging markets. Previously, Juan worked as a project management and infrastructure consultant in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia for nearly a decade. The last position he held was Project Services Manager at a BHP Billiton operation, in Perth, Australia. Juan holds an MSc in Project and Program Management from the Skema School of Business in France and a BSc in Civil Engineering from Javeriana University in Colombia.
Michael KaneSenior Infrastructure Finance Specialist
Michael covers the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions for the GIF. His current portfolio consists of projects from across a diverse range of infrastructure sub-sectors including water, telecommunications, transport, and energy and he works in collaboration with the GIF’s Technical Partners including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the World Bank.
Michael joined the GIF from the African Development Bank (AfDB) where over an 8-year period he held several infrastructure-related positions/titles with the latest being as a PPP Advisor within the renewable energy department working on project development and transaction structuring for small- to medium-scale renewable energy projects across several technologies including biomass, waste-to-energy (WTE), mini hydropower plants, and solar.
Prior to the AfDB, Michael worked in engineering consultancy in the UK focusing on the transport/highways sector where he advised clients, including the Highways Agency (on the private finance initiative (PFI) roads programme) and PFI Contractors, Transport for London (TfL), the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), private developers, and municipal/county councils.
Michael is a national of Ghana where he completed his undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering. He has an MS in Transport Engineering & Planning (University of Salford, UK), an MS in Infrastructure/Construction Economics (University College London/UCL, UK), and an MBA from Imperial College London.
Towfiqua HoqueSenior Infrastructure Finance Specialist
Towfiqua Hoque, a Bangladeshi national, has been with the GIF since 2015 and has been part of the team that designed, launched, and operationalized the Global Infrastructure Facility. Towfiqua is passionate about development finance and has 20 years of experience in delivering infrastructure projects in emerging markets. Her experience spans policy design, transaction advisory, bid structuring and implementation, project development, and equity and debt financing.
Towfiqua brings deep experience in building relations between public and private sector decision-makers, financiers, and donors influencing infrastructure investments and policies. Prior to joining the GIF, Towfiqua spent 18 years with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and worked on both the transaction advisory and investment side in Washington, D.C., Dubai, Hanoi, and Singapore. She has worked in many sectors, including power, airports, ports, water, and social infrastructure sectors in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands. Towfiqua is based in Singapore and oversees GIF’s activities in Asia. She has an MBA from George Washington University.
Jade WongInfrastructure Specialist
Jade Wong is an infrastructure finance professional with a wide range of experience in the public and private sectors. She has direct hands-on experience in financial and project structuring as well as in assessing public policies for infrastructure projects.
Before joining the GIF, Jade was with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Infrastructure group where she had closed investments totaling over $550 million. She has built expertise in originating new business, conducting due diligence, structuring project and financial instruments, managing portfolios, and executing successful exits. She was a key member of the pioneering team to structure convertible loans and syndicate equity investors for the Asia Infrastructure program. Prior to IFC, she was an investment analyst at a global macro hedge fund with $1.7 billion of assets under management where she was responsible for investment strategies in the global commodities and energy sectors.
Jade is bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese. She holds an Executive Master’s in Finance from INSEAD and obtained her Bachelor’s degrees in Accountancy and Finance from the Nanyang Technological University.
João Reye SabinoInfrastructure Specialist
With 10 years of experience in the infrastructure sector, João joined the GIF in 2019 focusing on transport and energy across different regions including Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining the GIF, João started his career at IFC’s investment business focusing on the real estate sector. In 2013, he joined IFC’s Corporate Transaction Advisory team in Brazil, supporting central and local governments to develop and structure their infrastructure projects in various sectors including transport (airports and roads), energy (distribution and public street lighting), and social infrastructure.
Nadine GhobrialInfrastructure Specialist
Nadine Ghobrial is a finance and infrastructure professional with around 12 years of experience across multiple sectors. Originally from Cairo, Egypt she started her career as Equity Analyst at the top-ranked Research Department of regional investment bank EFG Hermes, where she provided investment recommendations to institutional investors and eventually held the position of Vice President, Equity Research. Subsequently, Nadine moved to New York for graduate studies at Columbia University, graduating with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) with a focus on energy finance and policy. During her time at Columbia University, she held graduate internships at Roubini Global Economics and the Albright Stonebridge Group. Upon graduation, she consulted on several projects at the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives practice, Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as at infrastructure consultancy Castalia. Prior to joining the GIF, Nadine spent three years working for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), across both the Corporate Strategy and Partnerships and Multilateral Engagement departments. Nadine is currently a CFA Level III candidate. She is fluent in English, Arabic, and has intermediate proficiency in French.
Susumu TakahashiInfrastructure Specialist
Susumu joined the GIF team in 2019. He has more than 10 years of direct hands-on involvement in infrastructure development and finance in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the GIF, Susumu spent 7 years working for the global infrastructure development team at Mitsubishi Corporation, one of the largest Japanese investment firms, leading multiple PPP greenfield infrastructure developments and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions mainly in Asia and Latin America. During this period, he also handled the operation and maintenance of 1,000MW class energy projects to enhance asset value over the long term. Subsequent to this, Susumu worked at UN agencies managing several renewable energy projects in Asia and Latin America, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa mainly formulating PPP structures for off-grid models to attract private capital in the region.
Giulia joined the GIF in August 2018 through the World Bank Group’s Analyst Program after 4 years of experience in developing infrastructure policy and projects in the public and private sector. Before the GIF, she worked for the World Bank’s Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), focusing on creating the enabling environments for private sector investment in infrastructure and developing knowledge products on PPP frameworks, urban mobility, and energy sector reforms.
Before joining the World Bank, Giulia served as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton to develop utility-scale renewable energy projects, and at the Confederation of British Industries and the EU Delegation to the United States, supporting renewable energy, consumer regulations, and financial sector policy analysis. Giulia holds a Master’s degree in International Economics, Energy, Resources and Environment from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Economics from the University of Bath.
Javier Montero VivasAnalyst
Javier, a Spanish national, joined the GIF as Research Analyst in January 2021. Prior to this, he worked in the Embassy of Spain located in the U.S. as a Trade and Investment Analyst, where his work involved analyzing large data sets of exports/imports and investments, tracking the main macroeconomic factors in the U.S. on a monthly basis, and writing reports about the Water and Transportation sectors in the U.S. Moreover, he worked in the pharmaceutical industry as an intern in Merck KGaA for six months. Javier holds a Bachelor in Business Management and Law from the University Carlos III of Madrid and an MBA in International Management from ICEX.
Sara AhmedPartnerships Specialist
Sara joined the World Bank Group in 2014 and worked for several years in the Infrastructure Finance, PPPs and Guarantees (IPG) group of the World Bank, as well as spending one year at the International Finance Corporation (IFC). While at IFC, she worked on multilateral engagement and managed relationships with key multilateral development bank (MDB) partners and other global platforms—such as the G20 Infrastructure Working Group, MDB Infrastructure Cooperation Platform, and the OECD. She has also continued to manage the strategic partnership with the Islamic Development Bank on the role of mobilizing Islamic finance for infrastructure PPPs, while both at IFC and the World Bank.
Before IFC Sara worked on supporting the management of the IPG Group and Infrastructure Vice Presidency, including support to various infrastructure-related trust funds. She also spent a few years at the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), managing the Global PPP Knowledge Portfolio, focusing on developing products to help client governments strengthen policies, regulations, and institutions that enable sustainable infrastructure development with private sector participation.
Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Sara worked as a Program Manager at AECOM International Development, where she managed USAID-funded infrastructure programs based in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She holds a Master of Arts in International Economics & Energy, Resources, and Environment from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Carmel LevStrategy and Knowledge
Carmel Lev joined the GIF in 2019. In tandem to her work at the GIF, Carmel serves as a Strategy Associate for Spectrum Impact, an impact investing consulting firm that works with public and private sector clients to develop investment strategies and products that integrate social and environmental impact.
Before joining the GIF, Carmel worked for the IFC’s Inclusive Business team, housed within the Blended Finance department. Her work at the IFC focused on scaling private sector investment into emerging market companies that integrate low-income populations into their business models. In her role, Carmel also helped manage IFC’s Social Bond Program, which funds projects that have a direct focus on increasing access to goods and services for underserved groups.
Previously, Carmel worked at Impact Investment Exchange in Singapore, providing investment readiness advisory services and recommending innovative financing solutions to social enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region. Carmel also supported the Case Foundation’s Impact Investing portfolio, focusing on investment opportunities in the U.S. Prior, Carmel served as a Senior Program Assistant at the National Democratic Institute, managing and implementing U.S. government and international donor-funded foreign assistance programs in the Middle East & North Africa. Carmel earned an MS in Global Business & Finance from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a BA in Global Studies and World Arts & Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Erkin YalcinMonitoring and Evaluation
Erkin has over 15 years of experience working with the World Bank (WB), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the European Union (EU), where his work has involved monitoring, evaluation, and program management. Before joining the GIF, Erkin worked for various units of the World Bank Group including Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), Urban and the Social Development unit.
Erkin is an Urban Planner and holds Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Public Management (MPM) degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has certifications in CP3P® (Certified PPP Professional by APMG), Development Evaluation (IPDET), and Corporate Sustainability (Harvard University) with a focus on green practices, energy & innovation. Prior to the World Bank, he worked for the Turkish Prime Ministry, State Planning Organization (SPO) as a Planning Specialist mainly responsible for the management of EU co-financed regional development programmes.
Rui MaProgram Officer
Rui joined the GIF in May 2017 as an Operations Analyst. Over her 20 years with the World Bank she has held various positions, including most recently supporting the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) on its budget formulation and monitoring, funds management, and financial reporting. Prior to that, Rui was responsible for the resource management of the Poverty Global Practice and South Asia Region. She also worked in the World Bank’s Beijing office to provide project support to the energy team. Rui holds an MBA from the University of Maryland University College.
Adiam Berhane DemekeProgram Assistant
Adil joined the GIF team in 2020 as an infrastructure specialist consultant, with over 9 year of experience in engineering and advisory services for Governments and SOEs on infrastructure projects in France and Morocco. He was most recently Principal Engineer within the transport practice of Conseil, Ingénierie et Développement, where he contributed to various transport policy and regional planning studies in Morocco and Africa. Prior to that, within Valyans Consulting, he advised Ministries and Public agencies such as the National Railways Operator (ONCF) and the National Ports Agency (ANP) in Morocco on the assessment and structuring of their Public-Private Partnerships infrastructure projects. Earlier in his career, Adil has specialized in transport planning and economics within French engineering groups (Setec, CDVIA), where he carried out several socioeconomic appraisal and traffic forecasting studies for major transport and urban mobility projects. Adil holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Ecole Spéciale des Travaux Publics, du Bâtiment et de l’Industrie (ESTP Paris, France).
A lawyer by profession licensed in the United States (California) and Argentina, and currently a consultant for international organizations, Celina brings to the table more than 20 years of international cross-sector (infrastructure, energy, financing and services) experience in project finance, policy and regulatory matters, political risk and credit enhancement, contract negotiations, litigation, and mediation of complex investment disputes between governments and foreign investors. Celina’s governance expertise includes matters of integrity, corruption, and reputational risk at the project- and inter-institutional levels; independent project/procedural evaluations and audits; taxes and intermediate jurisdictions; confidentiality and disclosure of information; and institutional compliance matters.
Prior to becoming a consultant, Celina worked in the legal department of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the, World Bank Group, advising in international project transactions. She also held the position of MIGA Operational Conflicts of Interest Officer and was appointed Evaluation Officer for Sanctions and Debarments by the World Bank President. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked in law firms in Argentina and California. Celina received her J.D. from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master of Law in International Transactions (LL.M.) from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Celina is a strong advocate of education for all, and until recently, she served as President of the Board of Directors of Edu-Futuro, a non-profit that helps under-privileged minorities attain a college education.
Cynthia S. GearsConsultant
Cynthia has worked at the nexus of strategic communications, knowledge management, and stakeholder engagement at international organizations and in the private sector for several years.
She joined the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) in May 2020 as a Communications Consultant, to help amplify the messages and awareness of the GIF’s infrastructure project preparation work. Previously, Cynthia worked on several World Bank corporate priorities, including the Maximizing Finance for Development and Climate Finance initiatives. From 2017-2020, was the interim coordinator of the Stakeholder Advisory Network on Climate Finance (SAN), hosted by the Climate Investment Funds, and worked in the external and corporate relations units of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.
Prior to this, Cynthia was a Senior Account Executive at Hill & Knowlton Public Affairs Worldwide, where she focused on media relations and branding for a range of international and domestic clients, and was also a registered lobbyist.
Cynthia holds an M.A. in International Affairs and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, and a B.S. in Public Communications from the Syracuse University, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she was graduated magna cum laude and as a 1993 Newhouse Scholar, and with a concentration in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
David Bloomgarden is a public-private partnership (PPP) expert with over 30 years of global experience in development policy, management, and project design and implementation. At the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), he was the Chief of the Inclusive City Unit where he managed a $44.5 million portfolio in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region developing 40 blended finance investments for small-sized enterprises in sustainable business models for urban services delivery. As a Lead Private Sector Specialist for PPPs, David led the IADB’s Program to Promote PPPs in Latin America and the Caribbean, providing technical assistance to governments to improve policy, project preparation and implementation for sustainable infrastructure. He contributed to numerous blogs on private sector development for the IDB and developed a PPP Readiness Index entitled “Infrascope” published by the Economist Intelligence Unit to measure PPP institutional capacity in LAC. Following his career at the IADB, he has worked as a PPP governance consultant at the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the GIF.
Gloriana Echeverria MartinConsultant
Gloriana joined the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) in October 2020 as a Senior Infrastructure Finance Consultant focusing on the design and implementation of the Downstream Financing Window, as well as co-leading a study on the impact of risk mitigation products on mobilizing private capital to finance infrastructure in developing countries. Ms. Echeverria has eighteen years of experience in finance and business development in the infrastructure, agribusiness, manufacturing, and services sectors.
Prior to GIF, Ms. Echeverria was a Partnerships Director at Via, the world's leading developer and operator of on-demand shared ride systems. Before Via, Gloriana spent nine years at the World Bank Group, first as a Senior Underwriter at MIGA and later as an Investment Officer in the Global Transport Practice at IFC. Her prior experience also includes sell- and buy-side M&A, private equity, and management consulting. Ms. Echeverria has an M.A. in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was awarded a Kennedy Fellowship, and a B.A. cum laude from Yale University.
Ines Cardoso AlbarracinConsultant
Inés Cardoso joined the GIF in January 2021 as a Communications Consultant, having been competitively selected through a scholarship program of the Government of the Canary Islands, Spain, after completing a Master’s degree in International Business. Prior to that, Inés worked for Fondation Xaley in Dakar, Senegal, where her work in the field of communications supported the NGO’s fight for the rights of Senegalese girls to an education. Previously, Inés worked at the Consulate General of Spain in London, at Amnesty International UK, and briefly as an online translator for the United Nations, as well as at an audiovisual agency in Madrid, Spain.
Inés earned an MA in International Politics and Human Rights from City, University of London and a BA in English Studies from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Apart from this, she is currently studying a BA in Anthropology and an MA in European Union at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.
Jose Alberto Aguilar ThomasConsultant
Jose Alberto Aguilar Thomas is a World Bank Group consultant, who joined the GIF in September 2020. He has worked across different infrastructure sectors specializing in the analysis of public-private partnerships to mobilize private capital. He has an MBA with a focus in Finance from Boston University, and a master’s in Public Policy with a specialization in PPPs.
Alberto has been a consultant for the World Bank since 2018, where he worked with the energy practice in Latin America and the Caribbean, analyzing liquidity issues and ways to work with the private sector to mobilize private capital for recovery after the pandemic of COVID-19. He also has experience working with the transport and urban practices, developing private capital assessments in infrastructure financing in more than 10 different countries, including Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Tunis, among others.
Prior to joining the World Bank Group, he worked for the Mexican National Development Bank, BANOBRAS, the biggest counterpart in Mexico, where he developed quantitative and analytical skills to perform comprehensive analysis, including financial modeling and project financing mechanisms.
During 2017, he worked for S&P Global, a rating agency, where he conducted credit analysis on complex corporate transactions to determine its creditworthiness. He also worked with a well-known consulting firm for MDBs, Castalia, where he worked solving complex strategic assignments such as restructuring SOEs, delivering investment propositions, and developing regulations for different kinds of projects in various strategic sectors including power, energy, and water sanitation.
Today, he is using his experiences to work with the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) to catalyze larger financial solutions. Alberto Aguilar has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City. He is fluent in Spanish and English.
Yi Yao is a monitoring and evaluation specialist, working on the GIF's results team. She has worked for the World Bank Group's (WBG) Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) since 2019, where she provided key inputs for its Flagship Report “Results and Performance of the World Bank Group.” She also conducted project development outcome assessments for both public and private sectors and led the first published IEG look at IFC’s Anticipated Impact Measurement and Monitoring (AIMM) system.
Prior to IEG, Yi was at IFC for a few years, where she contributed to analytics for various investment and advisory projects, as well as WBG publications, including “Innovative China: New Drivers of Growth.” She has also evaluated the impact of infrastructure investment along the Belt and Road and promoted knowledge sharing in PPP. Before IFC, she worked in the office of the World Bank's Chief Economist for the Africa region, researching poverty issues using household survey data in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Yi holds a Master’s degree in International Economics and Asian Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor’s degree Summa Cum Laude from Nanjing University.