- Informal Economy
- News & Events
- Publications & Resources
- Contact Us
WIEGO Board of Directors
Current Board of Directors
Renana is the Chair of the WIEGO Board. She has been working with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) since 1977 and is currently SEWA’s National Co-ordinator as well as the Chairperson of SEWA Bank and SEWA Bharat. Her most recent publications include The Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty with Martha Chen, Joann Vanek, Francie Lund, James Heintz, and Christine Bonner; Informal Economy Centrestage: New Structures of Employment, which she co-edited with Ratna M. Sudarshan and Jeemol Unni; and The Unorganised Sector: Work Security and Social Protection, which she co-edited with R.K.A. Subramanya.
Kofi Asamoah has been the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana since 2008. Prior to holding this position, Kofi previously served as the Deputy Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress of Ghana from 2000-2008. He was before then the Deputy General Secretary (1988-1996) and then the General Secretary (1996-2000) of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress of Ghana. During this period he also served as the President of Dockworkers ITF in Africa and later Vice President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) globally.
Kofi currently serves on Boards of public organizations in Ghana representing working people including the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), a national Pensions Organization and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). Kofi is a Titular Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Barbro is the Gender & Equality Officer at the global union federation, IUF, based in Geneva. She has spent most of her working life working for the IUF: from 1974-1977 and from 1982 to present. She has also worked for short periods in the hotel sector, for the Swedish National Association of Farmers as well as in the Human Resources Department of a French Multinational company.
Barbro has wide experience of the different sectors and different regions that make up the IUF, travelling frequently to different countries and to work with different IUF projects. She speaks several languages: Swedish, French, Spanish, English. Her main focus areas are gender equality, project coordination and trade union development, and responsibility for Nordic Unions.
In 2007 Barbro was instrumental in ensuring that the developing network of domestic workers (International Domestic Workers’ Network – IDWN) found an organizational base within the IUF. She now plays a key role in managing and promoting the domestic workers project within the IUF and providing support, technical advice and political direction to the IDWN, in collaboration with the Steering Committee and the Interim International Coordinator. Barbro also plays a very active and important role in the ITUC Equality Committee, and in 2009 she joined the WIEGO Advisory Committee for the Organization and Representation Programme.
Debra is a US certified public accountant and holds a Masters in Business Administration. She was born and raised in the United States but has lived predominately in the United Kingdom since 1990. In 2002, she retired as a partner in the consulting firm Deloitte after a successful 18 year career. While at Deloitte, she worked with corporations involved in international business. Since leaving Deloitte, Debra has played financial management and treasury leadership roles in a variety of settings. She is especially interested in social investment and gender issues, and currently holds a portfolio of directorships and trusteeships for organisations active in these areas. Debra also volunteers as a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, a charity in the UK which helps young people wishing to set up their own business.
Fandy Clarisse Gnahoui
Clarisse is the Treasurer of the Trade Union for vendors at the Dantokpa Usynvepid Market; and President of the Benin women traders’ group called Axissinon Kpan Akon; Second Assistant Secretary General of the Benin Vendors and Other Informal Economy Confederation (CSPIB); and Vice-President of the International Committee of StreetNet International. She sells stationery, fabrics and other items at the international market in Dantokpa in Cotonou, Benin. She has a 1st A Secondary class education.
Read Clarisse's analysis of the state of the informal economy in Benin.
Ravi was born in India and brought up in India and in England. He did his University education in economics at Cambridge (undergraduate) and Oxford (doctorate). After his doctorate he taught for 10 years at the Universities of Cambridge, Essex, Princeton and Warwick before joining the World Bank. The positions he held at the World Bank included Head of the Ghana Field Office, Chief Economist for Africa, and Principal Adviser to the Chief Economist of the World Bank (Joseph Stiglitz). As Chief Economist for Africa, he was a member of the joint World Bank/IMF task force that designed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative. After eight years at the World Bank he returned to academia, to a Chair at Cornell University, where he has been since 1997. His academic CV shows over 150 published items, and he has published in the leading journals in economics, including American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy and Economic Journal.
He has been involved in joint research with SEWA for over a decade, and has held the SEWA Chair at the SEWA Academy in Ahmedabad. With Renana Jhabvala and Marty Chen he initiated the Cornell-SEWA-WIEGO Dialogue process, which brings together academic economists, non-economists, and ground level activists to discuss and debate key issues in economic analysis and economic policy.
Lin Lean Lim
Lin, an independent consultant, is a development economist by training. She retired from the International Labour Organization at the end of 2008, after serving for 20 years. From 2007-2008, she developed the ILO global programme to make decent work a central objective of development policies, as part of the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. From 2004-2006, she was Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, where her responsibilities included the supervision of regional programmes in areas such as labour migration, youth employment, labour market governance and local economic development. From 1994-2004, her positions at ILO Headquarters involved providing policy advice, implementing projects and conducting research dealing mainly with gender issues and the protection of vulnerable women workers and informal economy issues. She wrote the technical report and served as the Secretary-General’s representative for the 2002 International Labour Conference discussion on Decent Work and the Informal Economy. The ILC resolution was a major breakthrough in terms of the technical approach and global programmes on the informal economy. She was also responsible for an ILO global programme on More and Better Jobs for Women. Before joining the ILO, she was Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Malaya and Visiting Fellow at several other universities. She is the author of several books, journal articles and technical reports.
William "Biff" Steel
Biff is one of the founding members of WIEGO, and has participated actively in the Steering Committee/Board, Management and Finance Committees. At the end of 2005, he retired as Senior Adviser in the Africa Region Private Sector Group of the World Bank, where he had worked since 1983, specializing in small enterprise development and microfinance. He is currently living in Accra, Ghana, teaching part-time as Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, and working as a consultant for the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and others. He led a WIEGO team in preparing the Diagnostic Framework for the World Bank's study on Raising Productivity and Reducing Risks of Household Enterprises in six African countries, and is overseeing the Ghana study.
As Co-Chair of the Committee of Donor Agencies for Small Enterprise Development (1991-2004), he led the development of Guiding Principles for donor support both for microfinance (1995) and for business development services (2001). He has published numerous studies, articles and books on small enterprise development, informal financial markets, microfinance regulation, employment of women, and industrial adjustment. He previously taught economics at Vanderbilt University and the University of Ghana, and he has served as an Advisor in the African Development Bank and the Indonesia National Planning Agency.
Jeemol is the Director of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and previously served as RBI Chair Professor in Rural Economics at IRMA and Professor of Economics at the Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad. She holds a PhD and MPhil in Economics. She was a post-doctoral Fellow at the Economic Growth Center, Yale University. She was Visiting Faculty at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, CEPT University, Ahmedabad and International Center for Research on Women, Washington D.C. Her research addresses informal labour, gender issues, education and social protection. She was ILO Consultant with the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, New Delhi and to the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee on Status of Muslims of India (Sachar Committee). She is member of the Editorial Board of the Indian Journal of Labour Economics, New Delhi and a Member of the Advisory Committees for the Statistics and Social Protection Programmes of WIEGO; was a Member, Advisory Group on Employment and Shared Growth, World Bank; Independent Group on Definition and Statistics on Home-based Workers, Ministry of Statistics, New Delhi; and Group of Feminist Economists for the 11th and 12th Plans, Planning Commission. Her recent books are Social Income and Insecurity: A Study of Gujarat (co-authored), Flexibility of Labour in Globalizing India: The Challenge of Skills and Technology (co-authored), and Informal Economy Centrestage: New Structures of Employment (co-edited).
Carmen has a Masters in Sociology and is a consultant on the promotion of employment and public policy with a gender approach. She has provided academic consultancy on the “Strengthening the Voice of Informal Workers in Social Policy Decisions in Latin America” project – WIEGO/Consortium for Social and Economic Research (2010). She is currently the Manager of Business Development for the Municipality of Lima, Peru. She is also a faculty member in the Master’s Degree Program in Labor Relations at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. She was Minister of Women’s Affairs and Social Development (October 2008 – June 2009), Activities Coordinator for the Technical Secretariat for the National Agreement (2004-2008), Vice Minister of Promotion of Employment and Micro and Small Business at the Ministry of Labor and Promotion of Employment (2001- 2003). Her previous work includes twenty-five years of experience in managing institutions – specifically Education and Social Self-management Team (EDAPROSPO), and involvement with programs and projects for the promotion of development in the private sector, especially with regard to adult education and the promotion of employment. Also, she was President of the Consortium of Private Organizations for the Promotion of Development of Micro and Small Business (COPEME) from 1998 to 2001. She is the author of several publications including Two Years at the Ministry of Labor; Agenda: Micro and Small Business; Las Gerentes (Women in Management); and Class Conscious Trade Unionism: Certainties and Uncertainties.
Past Board Directors
Ela Bhatt is founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and served as the General Secretary of SEWA from 1972- 1996. She served as chair of the WIEGO Steering Committee until 2005. A lawyer by training, Ms. Bhatt is a respected leader of the international labour, cooperative, women and micro-finance movements who has won several national and international awards. She was one of the founders of Women’s World Banking and previously served as Chair of the International Alliance of Homebased Workers [HomeNet], of the International Alliance of Street Vendors [StreetNet], and of WIEGO. She also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. Most recently, she authored the book, We Are Poor but So Many: The Story of Self-Employed Women in India.
Marilyn Carr is development economist undertaking consultancies in: gender, trade and export promotion; women in the informal economy; women and non-timber forest products; and gender, science and technology. From 1998 to 2005, she was Director of the Global Markets Programme of WIEGO and until 2006 she served on the WIEGO Steering Committee. She has been a Research Associate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK; a Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies; a Senior Research Fellow at the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa; and a Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, London. She also was Senior Economic Adviser for UNIFEM, New York and Regional Director, UNIFEM, Harare; Senior Economist with ITDG in London; and worked on gender, technology and small business development throughout Africa with the Women's Centre of the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. She has written or edited 10 books and published several monographs and articles in her specialist areas.
Jacques Charmes is an economist and statistician. Currently Director of the Département Sociétés et Santé at L’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD, formerly ORSTOM), he is also teaching economics at the University of Versailles and at the Institute for Political Science in Paris. He has been involved in the design and analysis of many labour force, living standards and informal sector surveys in Africa, North and South of Sahara. He has written several articles, reports and manuals on the measurement of informal sector in labour force and National Accounts, with a special emphasis on women. He has participated in many UN and World Bank programmes and activities on these topics, especially: the new international definition of the informal sector adopted in 1993 (15th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, ICLS), the definition of informal employment (17th ICLS, 2003), the handbook on the household sector accounts for the implementation of the new System of National Accounts, the handbook on measurement of the non-observed economy (OECD), the World’s Women statistics compilations, and national human development reports in various regions. Recently he has been involved in two large programmes with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (African Centre for Gender and Development): the African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) and the “guidebook for mainstreaming gender perspectives and household production into national statistics, budgets and policies in Africa.”
Jose del Valle Perez was born in Mexico on December 19, 1946. He received a degree in law (barrister) from the Escuela Libre de Derecho. Since 1968, he has been active in union life, first as an advisor and in 1985 he began working with CROC (the Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Farmers or Confederacion Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesions en español) where he was elected to Secretary General of the Sindicate of Graphic Arts and Secretary General of the National Federation of Refreshment Workers. Within the structure of CROC, he was elected to Secretary of International Affairs and Policies. He has attended numerous international congresses, seminars, and workshops. He has taken part in the International Labour Conferences at the ILO for the past 10 years. At present, he is a member of the Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU in English or CIOSL en español). He has held many public roles within the administration of the government of Mexico, as well as many public posts within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Dan Gallin is Chair of the Global Labour Institute (GLI), a foundation established in 1997 with a secretariat in Geneva. The GLI investigates the consequences of the globalization of the world economy for workers and trade unions, develops and proposes counterstrategies and promotes international thought and action in the labour movement. Gallin worked from August 1960 until April 1997 for the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant and Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), since 1968 as General Secretary.
He was born in 1931 as a Romanian citizen, became stateless in 1949 and was granted Swiss citizenship in 1969. He studied political science and sociology in the United States and in Switzerland and lives, since 1953, in Geneva. He joined the socialist movement as a student in the United States in 1951 and has been a member of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party since 1955. He is a member of the Swiss General Workers' Union (UNIA) and has been a member of one of its predecessors, the Swiss Commercial, Transport and Food Workers' Union, since 1960.
He has served as President of the International Federation of Workers' Education Associations (IFWEA) from 1992 to 2003 and served as Director of the Organization and Representation Programme (ORP) of WIEGO from June 30, 2000 to July 31, 2002. He continues to serve on the Advisory Committee of the WIEGO ORP.
He is currently researching union organizations of women workers in the informal economy, labour movement history and issues of policy and organization in the international trade union movement.
Pat Horn is the International Co-ordinator of StreetNet International, an international federation which has been formed to promote and protect the rights of street vendors around the world. An experienced trade unionist and activist in the women’s movement, her work now focuses principally on the issues of workers in the informal economy, with a specialization in the areas of work of the street vending sector, such as urban policies and the own-account labour market. StreetNet International has almost 200,000 members in 19 affiliated organizations in 17 countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Prior to starting in 2000 to work full-time on the launch of StreetNet International, Ms Horn worked as a trade unionist from 1976 - 1991 in the emerging independent trade union movement in Apartheid South Africa (which became COSATU - Congress of South African Trade Unions in 1985) and as a women’s activist in the African National Congress (ANC) Women's League when it launched its democratic structures on the ground in the early 1990s. From 1993 she merged these two experiences into founding the Self-Employed Women's Union (SEWU), which organized women in the informal economy into a new kind of trade unionism in five regions of South Africa from 1994 - 2004.
Winnie Mitullah is a researcher and a lecturer at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi. She formerly served as the Director of the Urban Policies Programme of WIEGO and as a member of the WIEGO Steering Committee. She holds a PhD in Political Science and Public Administration. Her PhD thesis was on Urban Housing, with a major focus on policies relating to low income housing. Over the years, she has researched, written and consulted in the areas of urban development, with a focus on housing, informal urban economy, politics, institutions, governance, and the role of stakeholders in development. Recently completed works include a contribution to the Global Report on Human Settlements 2003, a case study of Nairobi; a contribution to the fourth-coming World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone, a study commissioned by the ILO on the Informal Labor in the Construction Industry in Kenya: A Case Study of Nairobi and a book chapter on “Gender Inclusion in Transition Politics: A Review and Critique of Women’s Engagement.”
S.V. Sethuraman is an independent consultant working out of Washington, D.C. and a former member of the WIEGO Steering Committee. Until recently, he was the foremost thinker and writer on the informal sector in the ILO and wrote and/or edited most of the ILO’s publications on the informal sector in the last two decades.
Víctor E. Tokman is presently working as a consultant to several international organizations. Formerly, he served as an Advisor to the President of Chile and an international consultant for ECLAC, IDB and the ILO. He was a member of the Board of WIEGO. He also used to teach at post-graduate level in the Faculty of Economics of the University of Chili and in the post-graduate program of FLACSO in Santiago. He retired from the ILO in 2001 after a long career mostly in Latin America, where he was Director of PREALC (Regional Employment Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean) and ended as Regional Director for the Americas and Assistant Director General. He was also the Director of the Employment and Development Department in Geneva. He graduated at Oxford as a Doctor of Philosophy in economics, as a Master in the University of Chile and he obtained his first degree in the Universidad del Litoral in Argentina. He has published a large number of books and articles on employment, equity, labor and development. He is a recognized authority in the informal economy field.
His pioneer work started back in 1973 at the beginning of the introduction of the concept of informal sector and continues to contribute up to present days. His first book published in Spanish in 1990 and translated in 1992 was Beyond regulation: The informal economy in Latin America (Boulder, Lynne Rienner Publishers). More recent books on the informal sector are From informality to modernization (2000) and his most recent, including a main chapter on the evolution of the concept and policy proposals, was published by Fondo de Cultura Economica was Employment and Equity: 40 years of search (2004). Both books were published in Spanish.
His published articles includes from, “The informal urban sector in Latin America”, published jointly with P. R. Souza in the International Labour Review 114/3 (ILO, Geneva). The more recent include “From the Consensus Reforms to Reforms for Protected and Inclusive Employment”, in the IDS Bulletin, volume 39 number 2, May 2008, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex; “The Informal Sector”, in the International Handbook on Development Economics, Edited by Amitava Krishna and Jaime Ross, volume 1, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited (2008); “The Informal economy, insecurity and social cohesion in Latin America”, published in the International Labour Review, volume 146, 1-2, ILO, Geneva (2007). The most recent article, “From the informal sector to the informal economy”, is included in the Handbook of International Economy, edited by Jose Antonio Ocampo and Jorge Ross, Oxford University Press (published in 2011).