Leesa is the Program Director of the AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) and AgriFin Digital Farmer (ADF) Programs at Mercy Corps. AFA is a 6-year, $24 million program funded by the MasterCard Foundation, while ADF is a 2-year $5 million program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand smallholder farmer access to technology-enabled financial and information services across Africa.
Ms. Shrader joined AgriFin from CGAP, where she served as the Senior Digital Financial Services Expert for Asia. She has over 20 years global experience working in financial inclusion with leading banks, mobile network operators and institutions such as CGAP, the World Bank, GIZ, KfW and Women’s World Banking.
She has significant expertise in digital financial inclusion, as well as agricultural finance, wholesale and retail microbanking, market research and product development, ratings and technical assistance. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ms. Shrader worked to build innovative commercial banking technology platforms utilizing branchless and mobile phone channels to serve low income markets in Indonesia and the Philippines.
She has worked on mobile and development deployments in 16 countries around the world, including Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Ms. Shrader holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and is based in Nairobi with her family, leading programming across Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia.