This year we celebrate 10 years of 4Assist!

Most of our associates have had several years of experience in working together successfully in short and long-term assignments prior to the formation of 4Assist. Nevertheless, the development of the 4Assist network has enabled us to grow in numbers, in experience and in expertise.


Our network is based on a core group of highly experienced associates that work with us exclusively. There is also a number of distinguished colleagues that work with us regularly, albeit non-exclusively, in assignments covering specific thematic areas and fields of expertise. The accumulated collective experience and trust is a large asset in our collaborative approach and aspiration to provide professional and technical backstopping support to our experts in the field.

 

Below is a list of our core group and associates accompanied with brief pen picture profiles.

 

Maria Tasioula

Maria is the 4Assist Network Coordinator and is in charge of our daily operations. Maria holds a Degree in Psychology from the National Capodistrian University of Athens (1998). In 2000 she received a Master of Arts degree in Organisational Psychology (Organizational Change and Consultation) from Columbia University.

Maria has notable experience in Employment Strategies and Vocational Education & Training, having worked as a consultant on Human Resource Development for 6 years in the EEO Group (2000-2006). During these years, she was involved in several projects promoting employment. A few examples include the EC programme for conveying older workers’ experience into social work which was implemented in Greece, Italy, Netherlands; the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hellenic Aid project to enhance entrepreneurship support for micro enterprises in Armenia; and the European Training Foundation (ETF) project for promoting the European Charter for Small Enterprises in the Western Balkans.

Maria has substantial experience in conducting training needs analyses and defining training programmes in both the public and private sectors. She has been involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of such programmes. In addition, she has worked extensively in programmes promoting employability for socially vulnerable groups, in particular with the framework of the EC Programme EQUAL. Maria also has experience in the tourism sector, having worked as a Tour operator and communications manager for TAS Ltd (Greece) between 1993 and 1997 prior to her post graduate studies.

Since 2006 Maria has undertaken the role of Network Coordinator for 4Assist managing all our activities, including the relationship with clients and beneficiaries and coordinating the knowledge management process between our associate professionals.

 

Yiannis Hadziyiannakis

Yiannis Hadziyiannakis is one of the founding members of 4Assist. He is an economist with over 20 years of experience. He received a BA in Economics, Politics & Government in 1990 from the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he continued his studies to receive an MA in Development Economics in 1991, and an MA in International Conflict Analysis in 1992. In 2009, he completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Financial Management by distance learning from Centre of Financial & Management Studies of London University.

Yiannis has dedicated several years in finding practical solutions for linking development objectives to planning and managing public expenditure. He specialises in public financial management (PFM). He has several years of experience in advisory assignments within finance ministries as well as sectoral ministries. He also has in-depth experience in evaluation and implementing PFM diagnostic instruments such as the Public Expenditure & Financial Accountability (PEFA). He has worked in various long and short term assignments in developing countries and transition economies in the former Soviet Union the Balkans, south Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has experience in a wide range of government sectors such as education, social protection, agriculture and rural development.

At present, Yiannis is team leader of the 3-year EU technical assistance project in Moldova that started in late 2015. The project covers the core PFM areas of fiscal governance and management; planning and budgeting as well as public investment budgeting systems; budget transparency and public access to budget information; treasury management and government accounting reform; and debt management. The project also looks into the design and implementation of the EU instrument of budget support in Moldova. Yiannis held a similar position for over 5 years (2002-2007) in the Ministry of Finance of Armenia leading the technical assistance team for the EU ‘Food Security’ Budget Support Programme.

Since 2010, Yiannis has been responsible for the technical supervision and quality control of the Operational Assessment teams deployed by the Directorate-General for Economic & Financial Affairs (ECFIN) to assess the PFM systems and financial circuits of countries eligible for support under the EU Macro-Financial Assistance instrument. He has also led Operational Assessment missions in the field.

Yiannis also has a wide range of experience in designing and delivering training courses in PFM, including the PEFA diagnostic tool, and the EU Budget Support instrument of cooperation. He has been part of the core team of trainers for the European Commission Methodological and Knowledge Sharing Support (MKS) Programme since 2015.

 

Sebastien Dubost

Sebastien Dubost holds a post Graduate Diploma in Public Financial Management from the University of London, SOAS, Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS) and a DEA in International Public and Private Law, with specialization in European Union Law from University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. He has more than 20 years of international experience mainly in developing and transition countries.

Sebastien has worked for over a decade within ministries and other government institutions and has led several technical assistance teams in the context of Budget Support operations and Sector Policy Support Programmes including identification, formulation, management, compliance monitoring (review of disbursement conditions) and evaluation. This type of work has been carried out across a number of sectors, namely in PFM, social protection, education, agriculture, energy, e-governance, sanitary and phytosanitary, water, trade, and customs.

He specialises in the area of Public Financial Management systems and reforms, analysis, design and implementation, including intergovernmental fiscal relations, local budgeting and financial management. He also has extensive experience in social sectors reforms in developing countries and countries in transition regarding institutional development and capacity building of governments at central, regional and local levels, policy formulation, financial planning and budgeting.

Sebastien has gained extensive knowledge of EU aid modalities and procedures during his work as Team Leader of the EU project of Support to the National Coordination Unit in 2008-2011 in the Kyrgyz Republic, providing advice to the Presidential Administration, Prime Minister’s Office, and MoF on the programming, management and monitoring of EU support, with a particular focus on budget support programmes; as Project Manager at the EC Delegation in Georgia in 1998-1999 and as Acting Head of the EC Delegation’s branch office in Armenia in 2000-2003, and since then as team leader of numerous EC projects.

He is fluent in English and French and has a working knowledge of Russian.

 

Irina Grigoryan

Irina Grigoryan is an ACCA (UK) qualified accountant (2008) with an academic background in Economics. She holds a Degree (1998) in Economics from Yerevan State University and has taught financial and cost accounting at various institutions in Armenia including Yerevan State University.
Irina has over 15 years of experience in financial accounting in the public sector, including advice to governments on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), the operation of the IMF Government and Finance Statistics (GFS) 2001 system. She also has extensive experience in applying cost accounting methods for government recurrent and investment expenditure programmes. Irina has considerable private sector financial accounting experience in the dissemination, training and implementation of the adopted International Accounting Standards (IASs) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs).
Irina has worked as advisor to the ministries of finance of Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Kosovo. She has substantial experience in working within the framework of EC development assistance programmes and is a member of IMF FAD panel of experts. She has provided advice on budget formulation, costing techniques for government programmes, budget execution (treasury) and accounting procedures, as well as the restructuring of chart of accounts for the public sector.

 

Gnel Sedrakyan

Gnel is an economist with extensive consulting and teaching experience. In 1996 he received his Degree in Economics and proceeded to complete his PH.D in 2001, both from the State Institute of Economics of Yerevan where he continues to teach as a Lecturer. Gnel has been invited on more than one occasion as an exchange student in Economics to the State University of Florida. He has obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Financial Management from SOAS University of London in 2014.
Gnel has extensive experience in public financial management having served as a team leader and advisor in the Ministries of Finance in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Sierra Leone. He has also led several teams involved in the design, implementation and review of several EU budget support operations and assessment of PFM systems in Eastern Europe, Central and South-East Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Gnel has extensive experience in designing and delivering training courses in EU Budget Support instrument of cooperation to the government officials and the staff of EU Delegations in Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.
Gnel also has substantial experience in providing technical assistance for policy development (including the legislative framework), planning and budgeting, performance measurement systems, monitoring and evaluation in the agricultural and social sectors.  

 

Elen Ispiryan

Elen is a trained mathematician with a Degree from the Yerevan State University (1994). She has devoted most of her professional life to a career in Social Welfare and Social protection Systems. In 2008 she received a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work from the Yerevan State University.

Elen has over 14 years of professional experience. She has worked as an advisor to the Armenian Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs for almost a decade. Her work has contributed to the reforms in the Armenian social protection system, including the income support social transfer mechanism Family Benefit Scheme, reforms in childcare and child protection policy, and the development of alternatives to institutionalised care. She was also instrumental in advising the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs and the Ministry of Finance of Armenia on the adjustment of the procurement process that enabled contracting out of government social services to not-for-profit organisations.

Elen has recently completed an EC assignment in Tajikistan in which she provided advice to the Ministry of Labour & Social Protection in social assistance policy and mechanisms for outsourcing the implementation of social services. This assignment was under the auspices of the EC budget support programme in Tajikistan which is also focused on improving the social sector and contributing to the reduction of poverty.

 

Vassilis Zanakis

Vassilis is a project manager in 4Assist who has 20 years of experience in EU funded programmes and projects, with numerous projects in the Balkans, new Member-States and Central Asia related to the provision of technical assistance, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of, mainly, PFM and Social Sector related assignments. He manages the knowledge management process of 4Assist, supporting the entire network of our experts in missions around the globe.

In addition, Vassilis has worked himself as a short-term expert in various EU projects, including “Decentralisation of Social Services” and “Strengthening institutions in the fight against trafficking in human beings and domestic violence” in Kosovo, “TA to the Sector Budget Support in PFM” in Kyrgyzstan, the “Ex-ante evaluation of the "National Development Plan" of Bulgaria for the period 2007 – 2013”, “Introduction of Value-Added-Tax in Tanzania”, and others.
Vassilis holds a B.A. in Economics and Psychology, and a B.Sc. in Computer Science both from the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, USA, and a M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Athens. In addition, he is a trained family and group psychotherapist and member of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (IAGP).

 

 

Spyros Valatas

Spyros is a finance expert with over 25 years of experience. He received a BSc in Finance and Accounting from the University of Geneva, and has also a MBA from ALBA Graduate Business School of Athens. Spyros is also a Certified Fund Manager from the Hellenic Securities & Exchange Commission and a Certified Derivatives Market Maker from the Athens Stock Exchange.
Spyros has worked many years in building and managing corporate pension funds related to Mutual Funds, as well as underwriting and monitoring corporate life and medical corporate schemes. He spent many years in financial markets and in investment banking. He has a thorough knowledge in debt instruments, bonds, equities and derivatives and also in analyzing business plans and investment strategies. In recent years, he took active part in raising funds from institutional investors for the recapitalization of the Greek banks in Greece due to the Greek financial crisis. He has international experience dealing with funds in France, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
Spyros has also extensive public sector experience at central and municipal government levels. He has served as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights in Greece. He currently serves as Counsellor and Secretary of the City Council of Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni in Attica region in Greece. He is responsible to follow the budget and the investment programme of the municipality.
He is also a Visiting Lecturer in capital markets and derivative markets in post-graduate program in National Kapodistrian University of Athens.
At present, Spyros is a Banking and Finance Expert in the EU technical assistance project in Moldova that started late 2015. He has provided technical assistance to the General Directorate for Public Debt in credit risk evaluating on-lending programmes, public debt management and sovereign debt issues and to the creation of a Yield Curve for Moldovan debt market.

 

Konstantinos Kyriakopoulos

Konstantinos is a finance expert with more than 25 years of experience. He holds a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Athens, an MBA and a PhD in Quantitative Finance from Imperial College, UK. Also he holds an LLB from University of Law, UK. Konstantinos is also a Certified Asset Manager from the Hellenic Securities & Exchange Commission, a Certified Representative from the Athens Stock Exchange, a Certified Representative from the Cyprus Stock Exchange, a Derivatives Market Maker from Athens Stock Exchange a Derivatives Market Maker from EUREX and a partially qualified Actuary.
Konstantinos has worked many years in various positions at investment banks and securities firms. As head of Capital Markets operations and a member of ALCO committee he has an extensive experience is Asset Liability management and strategic asset allocation. He spent many years in market making equities and derivatives and he was responsible for managing multibillion dollar trading and investment portfolio of bonds, swaps, CDS, forwards equities and derivatives. His responsibilities included public finance issues such as debt (government, municipal and supranational debt) and coordination between international primary dealers and institutional investors (insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, etc...). He has developed an extensively proprietary model technology for pricing, hedging and risk management of structured products (structured bonds, structured swaps, structured credit) for banks’ portfolio yield enhancement including CMS structures, TARGET structures, cross currency structures, etc. He has also designed and implemented structured products for institutional and retail customers including equity and FX -linked structured deposits and he has built automated algorithms for DMA in international markets.
Konstantinos has also an extensive academic experience. He is a Visiting Professor in many undergraduate and postgraduate courses in various Universities and Colleges. He is teaching Quantitative Finance, Capital Markets, Derivatives, Risk Management, Actuarial Theory and Banking. He is author and editor in many international financial and banking journals and speaker in various financial conferences
At present, Konstantinos is a Banking and Finance Expert in the EU technical assistance project in Moldova that started late 2015. He has provided technical assistance to the General Directorate for Public Debt in public debt management and sovereign debt issues and to the creation of a Yield Curve for the Moldovan debt market and assisting with advanced techniques for portfolio management.

 

Fotis Karayannopoulos

Fotis is a legal expert and an Attorney at Law in Greece. He graduated from Athens Law School in 1990. In 1993 he was awarded a D.E.A. in European Communities Law from the R. Schuman University of Strasburg. He then proceeded to complete a Doctorate from the same University in 1995.

Fotis has 23 years of experience as a practicing lawyer, a legal advisor, a lecturer and trainer as well as a policy advisor consultant. He is a partner in the Athens Law Firm Karayannopoulos, Lelouda & Foufopoulos with 15-years of practical experience in EU Law, Business, International Law, Competition Law, Intellectual and Industrial Property Law, Regional Development, and Environmental & Energy Law, including an extensive track record in establishing energy projects for alternative energy sources.

Fotis is a specialist in European Union Law and Acquis Communautaire and has over 10 years of experience in national policy review, in the context of the legal approximation of candidate EU members such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Cyprus (where he participated in several assignments in the wake of Cyprus’ membership of the EU) as well as countries in transition such Georgia and Albania.

In addition to his law practice and consulting work, Fotis serves as a legal advisor to the Greek Public Broadcasting Service E.R.T and is a part-time Lecturer on International Competition Law and EU Energy Regulations at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce of Toulouse.

 

Mary Straker

Mary Straker holds an MA in Management Learning, University of Lancaster, and a MSc in Economics (Sociology of Education), University of London, Institute of Education, as well as a BSc in Sociology from North London University.  Mary is an experienced governance consultant who specialises in delivering organisation development and change management programmes within public sector organisations.  She has  extensive experience in designing, reviewing, monitoring and evaluating complex development programmes across a range of government and non-government organisations with a specialism in institutional and capacity development in the education sector.

Mary has extensive work experience with 25 years in the UK plus 14+ years in Africa. Since 1995 she has worked in the field of international development as a DFID Governance Adviser, an independent consultant and a technical adviser in wide range of donor funded Governance and Institutional Development Programmes. She was as Regional Governance Adviser with the UK Department For International Development (DFID) based in Zimbabwe from 1995 and more recently worked as an Assessor for the DFID Governance and Transparency Fund.

During 2007 and 2008 Mary was the Technical Adviser on Institutional and Capacity Development to the Ministry of Education in Rwanda.This role involved her in working closely with the ministers and senior managers in the Ministry of Education on the design and implementation of the Education Sector Institutional & Capacity Development Action Plan which identified key change management and institutional and capacity development programmes across the education sector, including civil society and social accountability initiatives.

In 2009 Mary led the team responsible for the design of an Education Advocacy project and presentation of a DFID Project Memorandum to provide support to the Global Campaign for Education linked to the World Cup 2010. This is now an operational programme called 1 Goal.  Her background as a Governance Adviser in DFID and her wide ranging consulting experience matched with her sound interpersonal skills enables her to balance the needs of recipient organisations and stakeholders with the requirements of the donor perspective. Prior to her international development work Mary was a management and organisation development consultant in the UK with 20+ years of direct work experience as school teacher, education manager and Senior Lecturer in Education Management in a College of Higher Education as well as a senior manager in the UK National Health Service.

 

Apostolos Papaphilippou

Apostolos Papaphilippou holds an undergraduate degree in Economics followed by a Master’s in Economics and a PhD in Macroeconomics from the University of Cambridge, and has more than 20 years of experience as a policy and capacity-building advisor in 9 countries on a range of macro-fiscal issues.  Apostolos has: 

  • Served as project expert or Team Leader in several projects in Moldova providing policy advice and assisting the Government to design and monitor their medium-term development programmes and develop Moldova’s Public Finance Management Reform Strategy;
  • Supported the formulation of the Action Fiche regarding the future EU Public Finance Management reform support programme in Tajikistan;
  • Provided support to the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan on a range of macroeconomic issues and the role of the Ministry in the country’s budget and MTEF process and the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of the country’s development programme;
  • Served as the Team Leader of a project supporting the Directorate for Economic Planning of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • Served as an long-term expert of the Ukrainian-European Policy and Legal Advice Centre on a range of macroeconomic and fiscal issues; and
  • Worked as a short term expert in Georgia (on issues linked to macro-fiscal sustainability), Kyrgyzstan (supporting the efficient development of the medium-term macroeconomic forecast underpinning the country’s budget process), Kazakhstan (on macro and trade and investment issues), and has also served as an adviser to the Greek Minister of Finance on a range of issues lined to the design of the programme  supported by the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

Apostolos has published articles on macroeconomic, fiscal and trade and investment issues, is fluent in Greek and English, and has a working knowledge of Russian.

 

Jean François Bernede

Jean François Bernede holds a MS in Systems Analysis of complex Social, Economic & Technical Systems from Stanford University, an Aerospace engineer degree from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace – ENSAE (France) and a BS in Econometrics & Development Economics from Sorbonne University. He has over 40 years of experience in international development assistance (ODA) to educational systems in developing countries and countries in transition in Middle East, Asia, Africa, Caribbean and Latin America. He specialises in the field of Basic & Secondary Education, Tertiary Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training. He has provided services in policy analysis, educational planning, programming & budgeting (MTBF/MTEF), institutional and HR capacity building, operational process “re-engineering” & implementation of public educational institutions and services; Monitoring & Evaluation; Competency-based management and training.

 

Kennedy Musonda

Kennedy is a chartered professional accountant and an ACCA Fellow Member since 1999. He also holds a Masters in Finance and Financial Information Systems from Greenwich University (UK). Kennedy has over 20 years of experience in public sector financial management, including public expenditure management and accountability, accounting reform and internal audit. He has served as the Accountant General of Zambia in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning between 2009 and 2012. He has extensive experience in identifying and designing internal controls, supervising and appraising PFM reforms, and has considerable experience with international aid instruments in various African countries. He was instrumental in the design of the Zambian Treasury Single Account supported by the US Treasury department in 2010/2011 and the implementation of the IFMIS. 

 

George Plant

George is a specialist in fiscal economics and public sector management.  With over 20 years' experience in public sector management; 9 years' experience in the Public sector Finance Management gained in small island states, post-conflict and transition countries. He has been successful in providing assistance in budget cycle management in five developing countries, multi-year expenditure planning, and performance based planning in public finance, public financial management systems development and evaluation.

George holds a Bachelor and Master of Applied Science from the RMIT University Melbourne and a Master of Business Administration from Melbourne University. He has proven team leadership/project management skills and experience with working with diverse teams of local and international consultants. He has with worked extensively with multi-lateral donors such as the EC, World Bank, ADB, and directly to governments and bi-lateral donors such as DFID and AusAID.

His management training is backed by years of experience working as the leader in driving governmental reforms involving major fiscal and institutional changes along with capacity building working at senior inter-governmental ministerial and cabinet levels. George has senior management experience covering financial management and policy through legislative, administrative and procedural development frameworks to implementation. Experience at the design and operation fiscal decentralization systems which improve service delivery at national, provincial and municipal levels has been provided in the Pacific and Balkans. He has assisted in the development of Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF) in Kosovo, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Maldives.

He is a passionate advocate for local capacity building and has provided extensive training and organisational development in public finance for senior staff in developing countries, particularly in the area of results oriented budgeting.

 

Education

25 Oct,2011

4Assist has been involved in Education interventions in Jordan, Namibia, Kyrgyzstan, and Laos.               Our experience covers:

  • Education finance, including financial planning and budgeting systems, costing, fiscal sustainability analysis of education projects, budget execution and performance monitoring systems. This includes for instance mid-term review of the Education Sector Development Plan and improving the medium term financial planning system in Laos, and costing of the draft education development strategy in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Aspects of the quality of primary and secondary education, access to education and equity and distributional elements of education. We have advised on syllabus and curriculum development, teacher professional development and wider management and organisational issues necessary in a system of education.
  • Identification, formulation and evaluation of education programmes and projects, including budget support operations and technical assistance projects. This includes for instance formulation of EU budget support programmes and TA projects in the field of education in Namibia, Kyrgyzstan and Laos.

4Assist is involved in the entire spectrum of Public Financial Management (PFM).                                                   

 

Our associates carry out work in Budget Planning and Formulation. This includes the relevant processes, procedures and rules, the methodological tools for costing government recurrent programmes and services, the systems needed for introducing performance related systems to public spending and the Budget, the planning and costing of capital projects within a Public Investment Programme process. In particular, we have been extensively involved in advising ministries of finance in the feasibility of implementing performance budget planning methods, such as programme budgeting and output budgeting. Many of our associates have worked in creating systems for outsourcing government services as well as in projects aimed at creating public private partnership mechanisms.

 

We believe that at the heart of a good planning process lies the understanding of fiscal realism in putting policy objectives into an achievable budget framework. Our in depth understanding of PFM and our experience in government budgeting and planning processes allow us a comprehensive outlook on the specific thematic sectors we are involved in. 4Assist experts strive to provide realistic solutions putting policy development recommendations in the context of the fiscal constraints of government financing and provide advice on public spending that includes elements of value for money and performance.

 

We have also substantial know how in Budget Execution Systems and Processes, including Treasury Management, Financial Management and Control, and Internal Audit, which is all captured within the conceptual framework named by the Public Internal Financial Control. Our experience also includes Information Communication Technology Application Systems in PFM, in particular government integrated financial management information systems.

 

On the Revenue side of the Budget, we have provided expert advice on both core elements, i.e. revenue (tax) policy and revenue (tax) administration processes. The latter is commonly a major challenge in developing countries and countries in transition where the necessary capacity needs to be created to put in force tax legislation and achieve tax policy objectives.

 

Many of our key associates have experience in advising Supreme Audit Institutions in transition countries and have in-depth expertise in audit methodologies and risk assessment.

 

Our associates have provided services in PFM in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kosovo, Jordan, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

4Assist has a wide range of advisory experience in all four major fields of Social Protection.      

Experience includes work in Social assistance aimed at extremely poor individuals and households; work in developing, implementing and appraising Social Services for groups who need special care; work within the framework of Social Insurance systems aimed at protecting people against the risks and consequences of livelihood shocks; and work in Social Equity programmes designed to protect people against social risks such as discrimination or abuse.

 

Our strategic partnership with one of the oldest Non-Governmental Organisations in Greece K.M.O.P. (www.kmop.gr) has provided depth in the quality of our interventions. K.M.O.P. has a historical track record with working with the underprivileged through European Union programmes and Greek Government and private sector funding. K.M.O.P. has also been at the forefront of delivering Government social services for children in need, elderly and people with special needs.

 

In Armenia 4Assist associates were at the forefront of developing a government system for outsourcing social services (social contracting) to civil society organisations and adjusting the regulatory framework and public procurement processes to accommodate this reform. In addition to Armenia we have also worked extensively in this field in countries experience the shock of transition such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.