LONDON – Financial Inclusion Forum Ltd (known as FIF) announced the appointment of Åse Bergstedt and Rishi Raithatha as Co-Chairs of its Board of Directors with effect from 19 April 2023. Currently, Bergstedt is the Interim Head of Sustainability at Foresight Group, while Raithatha is the Director of Data & Insights for the GSMA’s Mobile Money Programme. FIF has also appointed Antonella Abategiovanni as its new Executive Director, effective 24 January 2024.

“I am very pleased to welcome Åse Bergstedt and Rishi Raithatha as Co-Chairs of FIF’s Board,” said Paul Blyth, the immediate past Board Chair and FIF Director. “Åse and Rishi collectively offer FIF a good blend of experience and knowledge of emerging areas that are important to the financial inclusion community. We’re delighted to have both of them driving FIF’s exciting programme for the next couple of years.”

Bergstedt has over 15 years of experience in sustainability, climate change, mobile financial services, financial inclusion, impact investing and energy transition. She has on-the-ground experience in supply chain management and impact investing in over 35 countries in Africa, Eurasia, Europe and Latin America. Her previous experience includes working for UNICEF and the World Bank. She holds a BA in International Relations and Economics and an MSc in Population and Development from the London School of Economics.

Bergstedt said: “I feel privileged to take the role as Co-chair of Financial Inclusion Forum, with the mission of creating an inclusive platform for engagement and to learn, share best practices and identify obstacles. More importantly, I hope to see all these activities turn into action for greater financial inclusion. I have a particular interest in driving financial inclusion in climate-vulnerable communities, and financially empowering the next generation.” 

Raithatha has spent over seven years working on financial inclusion, mobile money, and climate risk finance in low- and middle-income countries. He is the lead author of the 2023 and 2024 GSMA State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money – an annual publication on the use of mobile financial services in low- and middle-income countries. His previous experience includes roles at Pula, Finalta by McKinsey, Willis Towers Watson and the FCDO. He holds a BA from SOAS, University of London, and an MA from the University of Groningen.

Raithatha said: “The Financial Inclusion Forum was where I would look for experts’ opinions and discussions on the developments and challenges in the sector – particularly when I was new to the sector. The Forum has always been a welcoming and inclusive platform to learn about topical issues, and to contribute to ongoing debates. It is a pleasure to join and co-lead the Forum, and “give back” to the financial inclusion community.”

Abategiovanni spent the last decade driving impactful initiatives in financial inclusion, sustainable finance, and international development in Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Most recently, she helped to revitalise an education finance programme in the LAC region by building strategic partnerships and capacity, and facilitating knowledge-sharing. Her passions include supporting youth entrepreneurship, aiding refugees, optimising remittance systems and advancing education. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Banking and Finance, and an Advanced Master’s in Microfinance.

Abategiovanni said: “The Financial Inclusion Forum has been my anchor in the sector since moving back to London. When I worked as its Coordinator, I had the privilege of engaging and collaborating with experts on the intricacies of financial inclusion. It is an honour for me to return to the Forum as its Executive Director, where I can continue to contribute to its mission of nurturing dialogue, advocating best practices and promoting initiatives aimed at shaping a more financially inclusive world. I look forward to fostering insightful conversations on sector trends and solutions.”

Bergstedt and Raithatha said: “We are very happy to welcome Antonella Abategiovanni back to the Financial Inclusion Forum, having started as its Coordinator and coming back as the Executive Director. Antonella’s experience in microfinance and financial inclusion is exemplary. Her hands-on nature and passion for financial inclusion leaves us in no doubt about her ability to lead the organisation’s operational work. As a Board, we’re delighted and excited to have someone of her calibre and experience as our Executive Director.”


About FIF

FIF is a London-based, not-for-profit organisation that organises free, live events for people in the financial inclusion space to develop their knowledge and engagement in financial inclusion. Expert speakers are invited to share their thoughts on sustainable, innovative, scalable financial inclusion. The events serve as networking opportunities for London- and UK-based financial inclusion practitioners. 

For more information, please visit FIF’s website: 

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