University at Albany

About Kaifala Marah, PhD

Kaifala Marah, PhD

Dr. Kaifala Marah is the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Sierra Leone. As Minister, he is credited for introducing fiscal discipline in budget execution.

Dr. Marah serves as Chair of the g7+ group of fragile states; Co-Chair of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding; and member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Women's Empowerment.

Prior to his appointment as Minister, Dr. Marah was Chief of Staff to President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, and on record as Sierra Leone's first Chief of Staff in the Presidency. He previously served as Public Finance Advisor at the Commonwealth Secretariat, where he provided technical and advisory services to developing member countries, operationalised the Abuja Mandate of the Commonwealth Heads of Government on public financial management, and developed a government self-assessment toolkit for developing member countries.

While pursuing graduate studies in the United States, Dr. Marah worked as a Legislative Aide, conducting budget analysis for the New York State Senate.  He also was a Graduate Fellow at the University at Albany's Center for International Development (SUNY/CID).

Dr. Marah is recipient of the prestigious Excellence in International Student Leadership award from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy (2003); the Africa Young Leadership Award (2012) South Africa; and the National Excellence and Role Model for Youth Award (2011), in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His experience in public sector leadership and transformation commenced as Deputy Town Clerk Koidu/New Sembehun Town Council, and spans more than a decade.

Marah earned a bachelor's degree from Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone; a Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy from Rockefeller College, University at Albany, SUNY (with a focus on economic development); and a PhD in Political Economy at the University of Hull, United Kingdom. 

About Kate Breslin

Lawrence J. Korb

Kate Breslin is the President & CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (  With Kate's leadership, the Schuyler Center is building upon its long history as a strong, independent voice and coalition-builder that holds government accountable and helps to shape public debates around social policies that affect New Yorkers.  Kate has spent her career analyzing and advocating in support of thoughtful policy solutions that improve the lives of people in the US and abroad.

Kate previously served as the Director of Policy for the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), where she directed CHCANYS' public policy projects and initiatives to improve access to high quality primary care in underserved communities.  She was a Project Director for the California Budget Project, analyzing state budget and tax policies.

Kate served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  She has led and worked on relief and development programs in several African nations.

Kate earned master's degrees in both Public Health and City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University.