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Doing Business with International Development Institutions


Gender Equality, Inclusive Governance and the Law: Aligned for a Better World

2018 Annual Conference, January 22-23, 2018 

125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON

Tuesday January 23, 2017 - 3:00pm - Session 3b

Session: Doing Business with International Development Institutions


Chair: Amber Mackereth, Independent Consultant


Norm Looker, R.J. Burnside International Limited and CAIDP Board Member

Bill Chislett, Director of MI International - Marine Institute, Memorial University

Hussein AmeryUniversalia Management Group and CAIDP Board Member

Derek WilliamsonW.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers Ltd


Canadian individual consultants, private sector firms, and other Canadian entities continue to perform well in winning lucrative contracts funded by many of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) or Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). These include the World Bank and the regional Banks such as the IDB, the ADB and the AfDB. In past CAIDP Conferences, we have provided sessions on how individual consultants and firms/organizations can win these contracts.  However, there are many other donors out there that provide financing for important development work.

During this session, representatives from successful firms as well as those that have had success as individual consultants, will share their experiences, lessons learned and challenges of working with other donors – including USAID, the Islamic Development Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, UNICEF and other UN agencies, and foundations such as the Gates Foundation.



As an independent consultant, Amber Mackereth provides counsel to firms, industry associations and government on various aspects of international business development. She is particularly well versed on the subject of working with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and exporting both services and products to the Caribbean. She provides training and capacity building services, undertakes trade research and strategy development; and, provides business matchmaking services for international trade missions, including missions to the IFIs and many borrowing member countries. She has spent time at all of the main IFIs, is intricately familiar with their operations and procurement, and is familiar with techniques and success factors for winning and managing IFI-financed contracts.

Amber has worked within not-for-profits and private sector organizations in an international business development capacity. She also served as the Canadian Trade Commissioner responsible for private sector liaison with the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. Amber has a Masters Degree in International Affairs and is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She has worked in more than 20 countries and is currently based in Ottawa.

Norm Looker  has over 30 years of engineering and project management experience, and specialises in the planning, management, engineering and monitoring of water supply and wastewater management projects, as well as projects in many other sectors.  He is currently a Vice President with Burnside, a Canadian engineering and environmental consulting firm.  He has experience preparing winning proposals for and working on projects funded by DFATD, World Bank, ADB, IDB, AfDB, MCC, UNICEF and other IFIs. He has participated in dozens of oversight and monitoring missions of international development projects, and missions related to business development in the following countries: Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Barbados, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Lesotho, Jordan, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. In addition, he has played a key role in project management, technical assistance or business development for several other countries including: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Angola, Uganda, and Ethiopia. 

Bill Chislett is the Director of MI International (MII), at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. His 20+ year involvement in the international development field has included work in Asia, Africa, Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America.  

After several years overseas, he joined the MI International in late 1990s, first as an International Program Officer, with responsibility for initiatives in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and later became the Director. Responsibilities include international strategic planning, project development, proposal writing, project management, and contract negotiation. MI International is also responsible for international student recruitment, international mobility initiatives for employees and students, and overall internationalization of the institute. MII is driven by the goal of becoming a truly global institution. The unit is currently engaged in projects in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. He holds a master’s degree in international development from the University of East Anglia, and undergraduate degrees from Memorial University.

Derek Williamson has been working as a coastal engineer with Baird & Associates since 1991 and has spent his career working on projects related to shorelines, oceanography, coastal hazards and designs.  He is currently a Principal and Director at Baird & Associates, and is located in the Ottawa office.  Recent work experience has involved extensive Caribbean projects, most of which were funded by international funding agencies such as IDB and USAID and had Coastal hazards, risk and climate change resilience as common themes.  Mr. Williamson recently led a large project in Barbados: the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Program, which involved scientific baseline studies, pilot projects and the development of an enterprise level software platform to assess and mitigate risk.  Mr. Williamson’s work experience includes most of the Caribbean islands for a range of private developers, governments and funding agencies.

Hussein Amery is Practice Leader and Senior Advisor, Performance Measurement with Universalia. Mr. Amery established a dedicated Performance Measurement Practice and serves as a Senior Consultant on assignments related to results based management (RBM), enhancing organizational and institutional performance, measuring the achievement of targets on projects and programs and developing capacity building activities. He supports monitoring and evaluation activities of Universalia, in particular, of the core practice areas of the firm.  Mr. Amery is recognized as one of Canada’s leading Results-Based Management, Performance Measurement, project development, design and management professionals. A central aspect of this work included management of personnel, leading teams in designing projects, developing strategic plans, establishing strategic linkages and partnerships with institutions, industry, small and medium enterprises, NGOs, government, as well as maintaining relations with donor agencies.  A senior technical advisor, Mr. Amery has worked directly with deputy minister and ministerial level, leadership of national and provincial organizations, associations and private firms.

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