Rural Development Specialist
Izabela Leao is a Rural Development and Labor Specialist in the Food and Agriculture Global Practice of the World Bank, where she works on analytical and operational tasks in the areas of jobs and agriculture, rural economy, youth employment, innovation and entrepreneurship, and conflict/fragility. She joined the World Bank as a Young Professional in 2013, and has been focusing her work on Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, and Egypt. In the past years, Izabela has also worked on Belarus, Nepal, Tajikistan, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she spent 5 years in the United Nations working on programs in the prevention of Transnational Organized Crime and on programs of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), particularly on Economic Reintegration of Young ex-Combatants, focusing on skills training and job creation in Sierra Leone, Nepal and Colombia. Additionally, in 2011, she co-founded a non-profit organization in Sierra Leone focusing at improving the lives of marginalized youth through educational and life skills training. Izabela holds an MA in History and Political Science from Pittsburgh State University, focusing on social protection policy for victims of transnational human trafficking, and a PhD in Political Science from University of Milan, Italy, focusing on youth agency, state collapse and unemployment in Sierra Leone.