Joanna Ledgerwood is a former commercial banker with expertise in financial inclusion, market systems development, gender and women’s economic empowerment, policy and regulatory reform, governance, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge management. She was the founding Director of Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), part of the FSD Africa network focused on increasing financial inclusion through development of financial market systems. Formerly in corporate and then private banking at Canada’s largest bank, in 1994, Joanna became an International Advisor for Calmeadow, a Toronto based NGO working in microfinance. She then joined the Sustainable Banking for the Poor project at the World Bank and in 1998 wrote The Microfinance Handbook. In 1999, she moved to the Philippines to work with rural banks to deepen their outreach to the poor followed by a number of years in Uganda working with MFIs supporting their transformation to deposit-taking institutions. In 2006 Joanna joined the Aga Khan Foundation and led their Access to Finance activities in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa from the head office in Switzerland until 2013 when she moved to Zambia to establish FSDZ.
Since leaving Zambia in 2017, Joanna has been providing advisory services to expand financial market systems, particularly for women, and recently joined CGAP’s gender team focusing on understanding the influence of gender norms on women’s financial inclusion. She is currently an Expert Advisor to Access to Finance Rwanda and Financial Sector Deepening Uganda and previously advised the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation, CARE USA, among others. Joanna has served on Boards/committees in the UK, US, Australia, Rwanda and Zambia and written numerous papers and books. In addition to the Microfinance Handbook in 1998 she wrote Transforming MFIs with Victoria White in 2003 and The New Microfinance Handbook in 2013 which provides a detailed guide to making financial markets work for the poor. Her latest book, Making Market Systems Work for the Poor: Experience Inspired by Alan Gibson was published by Practical Action in 2021.