The Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program (EMDAP) is a USAID-supported fellowship program that places students and recent graduates of U.S. Masters programs and professionals with USAID and local organizations in USAID-assisted countries to provide technical assistance and support. Through 12-month work assignments with local organizations and SMEs, and often directly with USAID, EMDAP volunteers support USAID’s strategy of building sustainable local capacity by transferring knowledge in areas such as business planning, organizational operations, product marketing, financial systems and reporting, human resources and internet technology. EMDAP advisers return to the U.S. with new knowledge, skills and relationships to support continued engagement in emerging markets. Since 1992, more than 250 advisers representing more than 90 graduate schools have participated in the program, providing pro-bono technical assistance to more than 200 businesses and organizations in 50 USAID-assisted countries.
EMDAP has proven a highly successful and cost-efficient program in providing synergies of local capacity, development professionals and pro-bono expertise. USAID Missions, host country partner organizations and volunteer advisers give high marks to the value of EMDAP in meeting its objectives of contributing to USAID development goals, host organization needs and the advisers’ professional development. The impacts are immediate as well as long-term. Several host companies and organizations reported improvements in their operations within months of the adviser’s arrival.
Reilly Ross: Uganda EMDAP Volunteer
EMDAP advisers helped USAID/Uganda to inform local governments in Uganda of USAID activities in their districts and improve the alignment of USAID activities with district development plans and priorities. Volunteer Reilly Ross spent a year with the USAID Mission in Uganda, where she visited each district they were working with to provide hands-on support, assistance and advise the Mission on how to effectively use donor funds. Ms. Ross coached district government leaders to help them facilitate, plan, monitor, evaluate projects and report progress. Ms. Ross’ presence allowed USAID to incorporate local voices and needs. (See a full profile of Ms. Ross in Annexes).
Alice Chan: Kyrgyz Republic EMDAP Volunteer
Alice Chan volunteered to assist USAID, the American Chamber of Commerce and other organizations by promoting regional trade business development in the Kyrgyz Republic and other countries of Central Asia, including Afghanistan. Ms. Chan produced several reports including recommendations for the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and interested foreign investors, based on her meeting with the International Finance Corporation, World Bank, USAID REFORMA consultants, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Center for International Private Enterprises, the British Embassy, the Turkish Embassy, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and private investors.
Examples of adviser-initiated innovations have ranged from introducing time and cost saving methods in product packaging, to implementing a customer friendly, country-wide bank deposit system, to designing and activating a revenue-increasing, computerized, activity-based cost control and pricing system.
The U.S. business community has recognized the potential contribution of EMDAP advisers to their success in the global marketplace. EMDAP alumni have moved into positions in international business or development with major U.S. corporations as well as small and medium-sized businesses, business-serving institutions, non-governmental and non-profit organizations.
Many EMDAP advisers have used their experience to springboard into a variety of interesting and challenging international assignments. One adviser was hired by a U.S. company to promote telecommunications business with Asia largely on the strength of his EMDAP experience in Nepal. Another adviser has furthered his interests in international business by working in the Chicago stock exchange, focusing specifically on emerging markets.
An example of international development work is the experience of an adviser who has gone on to work with agribusiness development in Latin America. Yet another adviser decided to pursue a career in microfinance based on his initial experience in South Africa with a rural microfinance institution.
As part of their service, many EMDAP advisers developed case studies that illustrate important considerations for best business practices in emerging markets. With assistance from university experts, these case studies were refined and published. Click to read an example, the Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program case study.