Speaker Bios – Development Issues Committee, January 26, 2022

Localization of Development Assistance and its Implications for USAID Programming

Donald Steinberg 

Donald Steinberg serves as Expert Advisor to the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he focuses on expanding locally-led development, re-aligning U.S. policies with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.  He also serves as Executive Director of the NGO Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace, and Security, which works to expand the leadership and participation of women in global security issues and peace processes.

From 2009-2013, he was Deputy Administrator at USAID, where he prioritized the inclusion of women, people with disabilities, LGBT persons, indigenous populations, and other marginalized groups into the development and humanitarian assistance space.  Other past government service includes Ambassador to Angola, Director of the Department of State’s Joint Policy Council, White House Deputy Press Secretary, NSC Senior Director for Africa, Special Haiti Coordinator, Senior Fellow at U.S. Institute of Peace, and the President’s Special Representative for Demining.

In the civil society arena, he was a senior fellow at the NGO umbrella organization, InterAction, supporting its members in expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion.  He served as president and CEO of World Learning, an international nonprofit organization that provides education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries.  Other past civil society service includes Deputy President of the International Crisis Group, Co-chair of the Board of the Women’s Refugee Commission, Fellow at Our Secure Future, visiting professor at Dartmouth University, and a member of the UN Secretary General’s Civil Society Advisory Group for Women, Peace, and Security.

He has received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the Frasure Award for International Peace, the Pulitzer Fellowship, the Leet Award for Women’s Empowerment, and career Distinguished Service Awards from both the State Department and USAID.

He holds master’s degrees in economics from the University of Toronto and in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree from Reed College.

Betty Wilkinson 

Ms. Betty Wilkinson is the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Sector Deepening Zambia. With over 30 years of professional experience worldwide, Ms. Wilkinson has been an entrepreneur, banker, leading multilateral bank manager, field researcher, policy advisor, developing country government senior official, and volunteer. She engages globally with ministers, central bank governors, industry representatives, and leaders of development agencies, NGOs, think tanks, and communities to facilitate evidence-based innovation and change.

Ms. Wilkinson uses her knowledge, experience, and networks to enable pro-poor inclusive growth, using a participatory, innovative style to engage key champions of reform, develop and manage successful teams, and ensure sustainable results.



Natalie Africa, Senior Advisor to the Director, Africa

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Natalie is a senior international development professional who currently serves as Senior Advisor/Chief of Staff to the Director, Africa at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Natalie has global and regional public-private sector experience covering health, finance, MSME development and gender. Prior to joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Natalie served as Senior Director for Global Health and Private Sector Engagement at the United Nations Foundation in New York. She has innovated and led global and regional programs covering inclusive business, gender & private sector development at the UNDP and the IFC and worked for private sector institutions such as HSBC and Absa Bank. She is a strong champion for gender equality who served as a diplomat in the South African government during the Mandela administration.

Natalie holds an MA in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a BA in History from the University of Lyon III, Jean Moulin.




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