Esther Dassanou currently serves as the manager of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa at the African Development Bank. She was previously with the International Finance Corporation responsible for mainstreaming gender in IFC's Africa MSME program. She also previously worked at the Corporate Council on Africa focused on increasing trade linkages between U.S. and African companies and identifying finance mechanisms for African SMEs.

Ester has worked with over 15 financial institutions to enhance their ability to profitably and sustainably address the needs of women while at the same time helping women-owned SMEs increase their talent and business skills.

She is a thought leader on financial inclusion and innovative mechanisms to increase women’s access to financial services in developing countries. She has extensive experience on Banking women and overall Gender mainstreaming.

Her gender finance clients include Access Bank, Ecobank, Rawbank, BCI Mozambique, Diamond Bank, Helm Bank Columbia and AXA Group. Esther was the team lead of the recently published “SheforShield: Insure Women to Better Protect All” report; the “G20 – Access to Finance for Women MSMEs”, and the “Women-owned SMEs a Business Opportunity for Financial Institutions.” She has also managed the Global Banking Alliance for Women Secretariat, a consortium of financial institutions dedicated to the growth of women enterprises.