DAI traces its corporate roots to Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, we help African governments, businesses, private organizations, and communities overcome their most pressing challenges.
Beginning in the late 1970s, we cut our teeth managing rural development projects in Niger, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zaire. We helped build roads, change cultivation practices, strengthen agricultural training institutes, and create funds for villagers to start small businesses.
Since those early years, we have gone on to complete hundreds of projects in Africa. Our work has spanned the spectrum, from macro-policy analysis and in-depth field work with small farmers to agricultural value chain strengthening and security sector reform. We have worked from the grassroots all the way up to government ministries.
A few examples of our work today include:
- Reducing poverty in Mozambique under a contract with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation by increasing the economic involvement of the poor in select agricultural value chains, with potential beneficiaries numbering more than 5.5 million.
- Implementing security sector and police reform initiatives in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in projects for the U.K. Department for International Development.
- Promoting household nutrition gardens to provide food security and improved incomes for HIV/AIDS-affected women and children in Ethiopia’s urban centers—reaching more than 100,000 orphans and vulnerable children.
While capacity building is central to everything we do, some of these projects are focused solely on building local capacity in a particular area. In Africa LEAD, for example, we are working with local academic and government institutions to nurture the next generation of leaders in food security.
In the 1990s, we realized we could make an even greater impact with a local presence. We partnered with a local firm and formed a company called ECIAfrica at the time. Based in Johannesburg, the DAI office has now grown to become a major player on the continent, engaged in critical initiatives to improve the local business climate and promote private sector development, help corporations achieve supplier diversity and drive broader development impact, and address the economic dimensions of HIV/AIDS.