Richard Labelle

  • Extensive development experience (>39 years) in emerging & developing economies: Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East. Worked in 58 emerging and developing countries including 44 countries in Africa.
  • Digital economy analyst (e-com, e-gov, ICT4D, digital economy & financial inclusion readiness assessments, digital innovation & tech hubs in Africa);
  • Entrepreneurship assessment, development & youth employment in Africa (AfDB 2017-2020); In depth knowledge of enterprise support in Africa (AfDB 2017-2020);
  • Institutional strengthening;
  • Governance;
  • Innovation, science & tech. expertise;
  • Trade & development; Sustainable development;
  • Sustainable agriculture, agroforestry;
  • Climate action, cleantech & Low Emission Development.
  • Business and entrepreneurship development advisor & program manager with focus on youth & young women – Consulted, conceived & developed the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab program of work. Obtained $4 M in funding to implement the Lab program of work (AfDB 2017-2020). Had major role in managing Lab & set the stage for further Euros 4 M funding.
  • Digital and coding skills project manager and implementer – youth & young women (2017-2018 – AfDB).
  • Extensive (>39 years) experience in emerging & developing economies: Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East.
  • Extensive experience with UN agencies, MDBs & related.
M.Sc. Perfectly fluent in English and French - written, oral, comprehension. 
Tel; 1-613-203-7830

WhatsApp: +1-613-2037830

Skype: rlabelleklaf

Current / most recent engagements

Dec. 20, 2018 – July 2020

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire and in various countries in Africa South of the Sahara

African Development Bank, Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire

Consultant, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab

Reporting to and working in collaboration with the Lab Task Manager, design and implement the Lab initiative, develop Lab workplan and seek funding. Engage with stakeholders in the entrepreneurship and startup market in Africa and beyond. Assess the entrepreneurship market / ecosystem in Africa. Assess needs and startup success in terms of job creation, investor readiness and bottom-line performance. Develop a program of work to strengthen the capacity and access to funds of entrepreneurs and startups. Assess the enterprise support market made up of business incubators, business accelerators and fund managers of various types (operating at all stages of the startup investment cycle – from seed / angel to exit). Have been instrumental in securing over USD 4 M in funding to date.

Oct. 9, 2017 – Jun.  2018

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire and in various countries in Africa South of the Sahara

African Development Bank, Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire

Consultant to study the feasibility of establishing an Innovation Lab initiative to support startups in migration hotspot countries in Africa South of the Sahara

Design and implement two projects to support women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Coding for Employment (CfE) project. Revised design criteria and consulted extensively with partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and in 5 pilot countries including Rwanda. Engaged with Microsoft and Facebook as possible partners in implementing the Coding for Employment project. Involved in the design and implementation of the AfDB Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (IEL). The IEL is a facility that supports young and young women entrepreneurs, and startups run by young people and young women and enterprise support organizations (ESOs), including business incubator, business accelerator and fund managers, VC and angel investors. Identifying potential partners, developing the business plan and developing the service lines that the IEL will offer.  To support startups operated by young people and young women in particular and to support job creation for young people with a focus on young women as part the Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative of the AfDB. Undertook a study of the feasibility of operationalizing the Innovation and Information Lab. concept in a select number of migration hotspot countries and assessed the existing startup digital and startup ecosystems, including “Tech Hubs” and other ESOs and ESO networks in Africa South of the Sahara that can contribute to job creation and employment development for young people. Engaged with partners such as GIZ, GSMA, UNDP and others in support of these initiatives. Worked closely with Microsoft as a partner of the CfE. These projects are ongoing.

Mar.- May, 2017

Cambodia (Phnom Penh) + home.

Asian Development Bank

Dang Thuy Trang, Environment Specialist, Southeast Asia Department Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division/Cambodia Resident Mission

Asian Development Bank

Tel (855) 23-215-805 (ext 209)

Pollard Blakeley, Team Leader

ADB TSSD-AF PPTA, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 200 Preah Norodom Boulevard, Tonle Bassac, Chankarmorn, Phnom Penh

Mobile: (855) 966.895.096


Rural ICT Expert, TSSD-PPTA

Assessed the digital ecosystem in Cambodia, with a focus on rural sectors in general and the Tonle Sap project area with a view to assessing the feasibility of making better use of digital tools to support agriculture development among single women led households and poorer households in general. Was the Rural ICT Expert on the Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development Project – Additional Financing (TSSD-AF) project preparatory technical assistance (PPTA) team. Worked in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications to review the achievements of the 1st phase of the project and to make recommendations for using ICTs during the 2nd phase of the project from 2018 to 2023. Designed a programme that is to be part of the project that will support the use of ICTs and especially mobile solutions, access to the Internet and e-commerce apps to help farmers get timely access to information about agricultural technologies and practices, and to share this content, and to make better use of networks for marketing and sales of produce. The use of technologies such as IVR – Interactive Voice Response, e-payments, and electronic platforms for enhancing market visibility and introducing e-commerce applications have been proposed. Use of data collection, integration and visualization technologies are also being proposed. Budgets to support these activities have been developed. Focus was on small holder farms many of which are lead by single mothers or by younger and poorer farmers.

Responsible for analyzing the digital ecosystem and the innovation capacity of the Cambodian ICT market and startup ecosystem to determine existing capabilities of firms and individuals and their further capacity to develop digital applications to support and enhance small holder agriculture, employment of women and youth in small holder agriculture, and agribusiness and e-commerce development.

Undertook an assessment of the needs of small holders and of their capabilities to use ICTs and especially mobile devices and technologies. this involved a rapid e-readiness assessment of the agricultural sector in the provinces selected for the ADB and Government of Cambodia project.

Designed a programme for the implementation of the ICT component of the project.

·Consultant, UNCTAD, Geneva. Oct. 26, 2015 – July 1, 2016. Cairo and home based. In collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) of the Government of Egypt, to assist in the development of a national strategy on e-commerce for Egypt. Analysis of Egypt's e-commerce potential, of online market challenges and opportunities given current trends and practices. The project will build policy making capacity to reap development gains from e-commerce. Part of a team of consultants and UNCTAD experts.

·Consultant, Icegate Solutions, Aug. 31 – ongoing. World Bank South Asia e-commerce readiness assessment project. Home based + travel to Nepal and India. Team leader of project provide a regional report that will: i. systematically assess ecommerce readiness and constraints in SA countries and SA regional integration, ii. put forward strategic approaches and prioritization to further opportunities in digital trade for SA countries and for the region as a whole, and iii. identify areas and opportunities where ecommerce can have the most impact on inclusive growth, poverty, enhancing opportunities for women and jobs.

·Consultant, ICT4WASH (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene), Cowater International, Jan. 2015 – April 2015. Ottawa, Canada. Work with team of African consultants to write, review and edit four reports on the use of ICTs in the WASH sector in West Africa. Three reports in French (Benin, Niger and Senegal) and one in English (Liberia).  Coordinating/communicating with the West African consultants and/or other relevant sector stakeholders for any missing or additional information as required. Used Skype to undertake extensive interviews with WASH stakeholders in Liberia and Benin while working with a team of consultants in Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal. Review status of ICT4WASH knowledge base. All work done remotely.

·Online content development specialist and workshop presenter, Cleantech for development and ICTs for sustainability and climate action (ICT4S), The Aylmer Group & Asc-IST. June 2012 – Ongoing. The Aylmer Group & Asc-IST. June 2012 – Ongoing. Cleantech is a growing industry. Its role in promoting sustainable development and green growth is clear in the industrialized countries and some emerging economies, but what about in the developing world at large? Developing an interactive online communication series on energy efficient technologies (cleantech) for development. Part of the online content takes the form of a series of 5 Web conferencing workshops, social network feeds (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), the development of an ICT4D and cleantech knowledge base using Evernote. Already over 7,900 references (Web pages, documents) assembled in a searchable knowledge base and available online (via Evernote). An external panel of experts is providing input. Four workshops have been prepared and reviewed. Special focus on ICTs for sustainability as many cleantechs (smart grid, smart buildings, smart transport & logistics, smart cities, etc.) depend on ICTs. The intended target groups are policy analysts and decision makers in developing countries and development agencies as well as interested individuals and businesses.  


Banking and Financial Services
Capacity Development
Civil Society and Institutional Strengthening
Communications and Social Research
Community Development
Donor Coordination
Information Technology
Organizational Development
Private Sector Development
Project Management
Project Planning and Design
Results Based Management
Rural Development
Science and Technology
Social Infrastructure and Services
Strategic Planning
Technical Advice
Other (Field of Expertise): 
e-commerce, e-government, e-payments, e-trade,
Membership in Professional Societies: 
Mastership Status awarded by the European Energy Centre (