In addition to our full-time core team, Saana relies on a number of key associates. Leading experts in their respective fields, they can provide our clients with the innovative solutions they require.

Trade & regional integration

Michael Johnson, Senior Associate, based in London, Michael is an expert on multilateral and regional trade policy. He has over 35 years of direct experience of international trade policy, administration, negotiation and advice. Having held a variety of posts in senior civil service, he has for example worked on Britain’s bilateral and multilateral trade policies for the Department of Trade and Industry. Since 1995, Michael has been an independent consultant with a particular focus on the WTO (policy and technical issues), the EU’s external trade policy as well as institutional structures. He has worked under contracts for the UK DfID, the EC and the World Bank amongst others. Michael furthermore has regional expertise from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, and speaks fluent French and German in addition to some Italian. Michael currently works as a trade policy expert on the trade sector portfolio of the DFID Nigeria Policy Development Facility and chairs the Advisory Panel for DFID’s Trade Advocacy Fund.

Fiona Shera, Senior Associate, based in London, Fiona has 20 years of experience in international development covering economic management, trade, regional integration and private sector development. Prior to joining Saana, Fiona worked for and with DFID, the World Bank, the EC, the NGO sector and more recently as an international consultant. She spent 13 years in DFID in a range of roles covering policy, country programme delivery and management including two overseas postings in Tanzania and Ethiopia. As Head of DFID’s Trade and Development department she led development of new Aid for Trade initiatives including a stronger focus on regional integration and trade policy support, including a trade facilitation programme with the World Bank, initiatives to support trade advocacy and capacity development in LDCs, and development of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) working with WTO and the EIF Secretariat. As Country Director of Traidlinks Uganda 2011-13 she developed new programmes to support regional trade promotion and small business development including value chain work linking to development of the oil and gas sector. Fiona is currently the Project Director on the DANIDA-funded Regional Economic Integration Support Programme in East Africa (REISP) and the NORAD Aid for Trade call-down contract.

Angela Strachan, Senior Associate, based in London, Angela is an international trade facilitation and private sector development expert with 17 years’ experience advising governments and business globally, including in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Working more recently for the International Trade Centre (ITC) as Chief, Business Environment Section and Lead on Trade Facilitation, she has developed and implemented multi-country programmes on trade facilitation and business environment reform as well as lead trade facilitation policy dialogue for exporting SMEs and the private sector. Prior to joining the ITC, Angela worked for the UNESCAP in Thailand, as Regional Adviser for Trade Facilitation, where she advised on capacity building and technical assistance programmes in trade facilitation. Furthermore, she was Trade Adviser and Lead on Trade Facilitation, Customs Reforms and Trade Competitiveness programmes at the Commonwealth Secretariat for several years.

Intellectual property & development

Mart Leesti, Senior Associate, based in Ottawa, Canada, Mart leads our portfolio of client work on intellectual property. With over 35 years experience, Mart is a former CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, and now regularly consults to WIPO, the European Patent Office, and to governments in West Africa, South Asia, SE Asia and Eastern Europe. His expertise and experience covers all areas of intellectual property policy, legislation, administration and enforcement, as well as capacity building to promote innovation and use of the IP system for private sector development. Mart regularly participates as an expert lecturer and trainer in regional and national seminars and conferences on various aspects of the system of intellectual property, including the TRIPS Agreement, around the world.

Michael Blakeney, Senior Associate, based in Perth, Australia, Michael has over 35 years professional experience and is an internationally respected authority on IP protection, legal reform and enforcement and has worked on numerous IPR technical assistance projects around the world. He has in-depth knowledge and experience with assisting developing countries achieving compliance with international IP conventions (in particular the WTO TRIPS Agreement) and devising effective legal protection models and enforcement regimes for all forms of IPRs – including more novel forms of IPRs such as plant variety protection, geographical indications, protection of traditional knowledge & folklore, and regulation of access and benefit sharing for genetic resources.

Aid effectiveness & evaluation

Bernard Wood, Senior Associate, based in Ottawa, Bernard is our aid effectiveness, evaluation and results-based management specialist. He has over 30 years experience of evaluating development co-operation and is internationally recognized as a leading expert in the field. He has worked in over 60 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and worldwide, and is fluent in English and French. As the former Head of Development Co-operation for the OECD-DAC, between 1993 and 1999, Bernard played a key role in producing the development partnerships strategy and leading Peer Reviews of OECD-DAC members. Since 1999, Bernard has undertaken a large number of evaluation assignments and organizational and performance management studies, as well as policy studies covering trade issues.

Bui Thi Thu Huong, Senior Associate, based in Hanoi, has over 15 years of experience in coordinating, managing, monitoring and evaluating donor programmes in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, including programmes on rural enterprise development, green growth and trade. She has experience leading evaluation teams and facilitating communication between stakeholders, having provided advice and technical assistance on M&E to the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance for 10 years. Most recently, Huong was part of the Saana evaluation teams for the 2012 Mid-Term Review of the EIF and the ongoing Independent Evaluation of the ITC.

Communications

Sue Martin, Communications Associate, based in London, has more than twenty years’ experience in high-profile international communications, including senior roles with BBC World Service and the global TV news channel BBC World, and as interim Director of Communications for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Sue has worked closely with Saana on the development of DFID’s highly successful Trade Advocacy Fund, and was also responsible for communications for the launch of DFID’s Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund. She has a strong track record in addressing complex stakeholder engagement issues in a range of development contexts, including trade, governance, organisational/public service reform, and change management in challenging environments. Sue has worked extensively in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, most recently in Rwanda, Mongolia, Cambodia and Bosnia. She is an experienced mentor and trainer across a range of communications skills, including crisis planning and media interview skills.