The Core Team

Edvin Zhllima holds a Master of Arts in International and Development Economics from the University of Applied Sciences Berlin and a PhD in Agrifood Economics and Policy from University of Bologna since 2011. Edvin is a lecturer of Macroeconomics and Development Economics and is Associated profesor at the Agricultural University of Tirana since 2013. Edvin has worked as an expert in agribusiness and rural development for projects funded by UNWOMEN, FAO, GIZ, UNDP, SNV, etc. He has coordinated several research and consultancy projects. Research interests include agricultural and institutional economics.
Luciano Leonetti is a senior international agrifood researcher and consultant. He holds a first degree in Economics from University of La Sapienza. He has more than 25 years of relevant experience in transition economies. He has worked as a researcher at University of La Sapienza, and as a consultant for various institutions, including FAO, UNDP, USAID, EUROPEAID, SNV, Italian Cooperation, GIZ, ADF, EBRD, etc. Key competences lies in the field of rural development, project cycle managemet, project/program formulation, implemetaion, evaluation and agrifood marketing, EU Pre-Acession Development Programs.
Irena Gjika has earned a Master of Sciences in Rural Development Economics and Policy from the Agricultural University of Tirana. She is currently a research and administrative assistant of DSA.

Associated researchers

Elvina Merkaj has earned her first degree in Economics at the University of Perugia and PhD at the Polytechnic University of Marche. Currently Elvina is a research fellow at the Polytechnic University of Marche. She has considerable experience on local governmental research and has particular interest on methodological aspects. Her research is concentrated on local finance, local governance and development and financial management.
Jacqueline Halbrendt (Chan-Dentoni) is a researcher for international agriculture development. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies, a MS in Horticulture and a PhD in Natural Resources & Environmental Management from the University of Hawaii. Her present research focus is on the environmental, economic, and gender implications of introducing conservation agriculture to rural areas of India and Nepal. She has further NGO experience working on projects funded by USAID, World Vision, and Mercy Corps in Mozambique and Uganda. Jacqueline is an associated researcher of DSA.
Endrit Kromidha is a researcher and consultant on e-governance and economic development. He has been professionally involved in banking, leasing, e-business, education and research centres in Albania and United Kingdom. Endrit holds a PhD from Royal Holloway University of London. He is a specialist and academic lecturer in project management, information systems, with a special professional interest on information and communication technologies for development and sustainability. Endrit Kromidha is affiliated researcher of DSA.
Jeff Houghton. He has worked as team leader and international consultant in international development projects in countries such as Albania, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Estonia, China, Philippines and Sudan. He has been Chief of Party and the Team Leader on both USAID and EU Development Projects in Albania. He holds a degree in development economics and an MBA from Manchester Business School. Jeff is an affiliated senior consultant of DSA.
Ylldize Brahimi has been the Director of Vlora Regional Development Agency (RDA) since April 1993. She has more than 20 years extensive experience of development including women’s rights, local government, and poverty alleviation. The Vlora RDA has been a local partner for projects funded by USAID, European Commission, GIZ, Partners-Albania, and the Soros Foundation. She holds a degree from the Agricultural University, Tirana and has qualified as a Master Trainer from International Labor Organization (ILO). Ylldize is Member of Board of Directors of DSA.
Fabio Fiorillo is Associate Professor of Public Economics (Scienza delle Finanze) and since 2013 at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences at the Polytechnic University of Marche. He is also Alderman for Budget and Finance at the Municipality of Ancona and since 2016 is appointed as Expert by Italian Ministry of the Interior for the “Osservatorio per la finanza locale e la contabilità pubblica”. His scientific interests address local taxation problems, efficiency of public administration, design of local government task, amalgamation processes among them, computational models (CGE) and design of BES indexes at the local level etc
Aurora Hoxha has earned her PhD in 2015. She has been lecturing and conducting research for over 8 years in accounting at the Agricultural University of Tirana. She has considerable experience in accounting and financial management. Aurora is in charge of financial reporting for several private companies and for non-governmental organization (NGO) for a period of time of 12 years. She is part of the Financial and Accounting Associations Albania (SHKFSH).