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Louise Williams

Senior Director for Economic Growth

Education:

  • B.A., Economics, Wellesley College
  • J.D., University of Maryland School of Law
  • LL.M., Labor Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Languages: English

Technical areas of expertise: Economic growth, with an emphasis on enabling environments for private sector development, the digital economy, and women’s economic empowerment.


For more than 20 years, Louise Williams has promoted economic growth through legal, regulatory, and institutional regimes that are transparent, accountable and inclusive. Louise has conceived and implemented widely accessed tools that help facilitate private-sector development, including USAID's BizCLIR and AgCLIR methodologies; the Regional Agricultural Trade Environment (RATE) analysis; the USAID Systems Analytic Framework for the Digital Economy (SAF-DE); and a country-aligned market systems development tool. Louise helps strengthen systems of economic policymaking, public-private engagement, transparent governance, enterprise formalization, business licensing and permitting, access to credit, and cross-border trade. Prior to joining DT Global, as both an independent consultant and Principal Associate/Practice Lead at Nathan Associates Inc., Louise led a range of women's economic empowerment initiatives, including the APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard; the APEC Women in Transportation Data Framework and Best Practices initiative; APEC Women in STEM; APEC Women and Entrepreneurship (WE-APEC); and USAID's 2015 guidance for integration of gender issues into trade capacity-building projects in the Middle East and Asia. Louise’s experience spans more than 50 economies across Central Europe/Eurasia, Asia/Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America/the Caribbean, the Middle East/North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.


If you could change something in the world, what would it be? The World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report sheds light on progress worldwide toward equality between men and women, focusing on four dimensions: Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, Political Empowerment, and Economic Participation and Opportunity. Although conditions for education and health have come closer to parity over the years, women remain startlingly behind their male peers when it comes to meaningful participation in political and economic systems. So much is lost due to the dearth of women’s influence in these areas – the whole world is deprived of their essential perspectives in governance and peace-making, as well as the amazing innovations and entrepreneurial ideas that they could otherwise bring to our lives. If I could change anything, it would be foster a new urgency toward equal opportunity and parity in all dimensions of the human experience, because I believe the outcome would reveal a world that allows all people to become their best, most wholly realized selves.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give others about life? Although my own musical preferences are found among the brooding, soulful greats of the 1970s and 80s – Joni Mitchell, Bill Withers, Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Tom Petty, and the like – my young-adult daughters often share with me their favorites from contemporary country music. From that genre, I especially like Eric Church’s advice on what there is to learn about life, as expressed in his 2018 song “Some of It”:

Some of it you learn the hard way
Some of it you read on a page
Some of it comes from heartbreak
Most of it comes with age.
And none of it ever comes easy
A bunch of it you maybe can't use
I know I don't probably know what I think I do
But there's something to …
Some of it.