While on a Fulbright scholarship 15 years ago, Zaki Raheem first became interested in microenterprise development while working with a women’s microfinance program in rural Philippines. The experience exposed him to the role of the private sector in a country’s development and the potentially positive impact that smart investments, inclusive policies, and sound market assessments could have on the lives and livelihoods of the enterprising poor in the developing world.

After these early experiences, Zaki joined Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a socially responsible investment advisory firm, to explore the role of capital markets and multinational corporation investments in emerging markets.

To link these micro- and macro-economic research and consulting experiences, it was a natural progression for Zaki to become a private sector development specialist with a focus on agribusiness value chain development, where he engages in market assessments that look to link micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and producers to growing markets. He has had the opportunity to engage in a variety of training, facilitation, project design, and project management experiences working with agriculture cooperatives, microfinance institutions, investors, business associations, and government ministries. His field work includes short- and long-term assignments in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia/Somaliland, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

After a two-year field assignment as the Private Sector Specialist/Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Partnership for Economic Growth program in Somalia, he is now a Technical Advisor for the USAID Mozambique Feed the Future-Inova project, World Bank Somali Business Catalytic Fund, DFID Promoting Inclusive Markets in Somalia project and the Ghana Kosmos Innovation Center—an ICT4Ag project working with local business incubators and impact investors. In addition to his full-time position with DAI, Zaki works part-time as an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) teaching a micro and small enterprise development course.



John Maris

John Maris explores ways in which DAI can invest in enterprises that align with the company’s mission and create value for people around the world.

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