We are our people

Andrew Laing, Director and Founder

Andrew Laing is a public economist with over twenty years’ experience in the field. His interest has been in financial management, accountability policy, and performance management in central and service agencies. He brings a wealth of experience working with the Australian aid agency (AusAID), as Assistant Director General of the Economics and Service Delivery Branch and as Senior Associate for Public Finance. He worked for the World Bank as a Senior Public Sector Specialist and Country Economist including in Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Iraq. 

He started his public finance career in 1998 by developing the first accrual and outcome-based budget preparation system for Australia’s immigration department before becoming a Budget Group Director within the Australian Department of Finance. This provided a strong foundation for his future work in the areas AFI is targeting now. As a consultant economist he has worked for the UK Secretary of State for Development and a number of private sector organisations including: Adam Smith International (ASI), Cardno, Geopolicity, GHD, GRM, IMS/M-TAG, Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE), and Sustineo.

He has worked in many states and territories including: Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Iraq, Laos, Liberia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza and Zambia.

Vincent Ashcroft, Director and Founder

Vincent Ashcroft is a public sector and development economist with over twenty years’ experience. His interests are in applied economic policy, economic and social outcomes from public investment, the role of institutions in good governance and the impact of culture on economic development. Vincent has held executive positions in the Australian Treasury as the Director – Fiscal Frameworks and Senior Representative (Economist) for South East Asia, based in Jakarta during the Global Financial Crisis. He was also a senior executive with the Australian Agency for International Development and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade holding the positions of Country Economist – Indonesia (based in Jakarta), Assistant Director General for Economics, Rural Development and Infrastructure, and Minister Counsellor Development at the Australian Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste.

Since leaving the Australian Public Service in 2014 Vincent has worked in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico and Timor-Leste, providing strategic advice to Governments and their development partners, and developed new budget and performance management systems that work in fragile and conflict affected states.


We’ve come along way just to start now

AFI is a small start-up company with the goal of creating a new global network of public finance economists and development policy practitioners. The two founders, Andrew Laing and Vincent Ashcroft met in Timor-Leste in 2001 at the tail end of the UN mission that helped to restore independence after 25 years of Indonesian occupation. Working inside the newly formed government and dealing with the overwhelming presence of the international development community left a lasting impression. Our mission became one of looking for a better way to help developing countries find their own path to self-reliance and sustainability. We have worked separately and together in a diverse group of countries including Iraq, Cambodia, Indonesia, Liberia, Afghanistan, PNG, Pakistan, and Puerto Rico and developed a strong team-based problem driven approach to helping governments and reformers who are facing huge challenges in low capacity and volatile environments.

AFI was established because we believe there is a better way for global expertise to support reformers. Current models of international development assistance are often not delivering on promised results nor doing it in a cost-effective way. We believe this represents an innovation gap that creates space for AFI to use what we have learned on the ground for over 20 years and combining it with new technologies to deliver better outcomes and value for money for donors and aid recipients.

We see the defining challenges of this period as sustainability – economically, socially and environmentally – and tackling global inequality. Our mission is to have lasting social impact while creating an ethical and sustainable company that is highly valued by its people, its clients and the public.

Our Aims

Help change the way the technical cooperation is delivered

by promoting pathways to genuine self-reliance through fiscal intelligence tools and performance management

Deliver high value and cost-effective services

to donor and recipient governments to produce outcomes that valued by citizens and governments

Work hard and smart as a passionate team

that constantly strives to achieve our own goals for ourselves and our global ambitions

Help developing country governments’ deliver better

fiscal performance and much more open and accountable government

Help donor governments' deliver real value for money

for their taxpayers and citizens of other countries including the poor and the most vulnerable

Build cost-effective fiscal intelligence tools

that help people, teams and institutions achieve positive change in their community, government and region

Learn about where we've worked and what we've done

Check out interactive maps and tables on our work history over the last 2 decades