The Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program (EMDAP) was a fellowship and cooperative activity between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Institute of International Education (IIE) from 1992 to 2018. Through EMDAP, U.S. graduate students and recent graduates with non-profit, business, private sector, public policy, and international relations related backgrounds provided technical assistance and support to local organizations in USAID-assisted countries. The targeted assistance EMDAP provided supported USAID's strategy of building local capacity through innovative and sustainable assistance by transferring knowledge to local organizations and individuals.

EMDAP was a demand-driven program with placement based on requests from USAID field Missions, as well as other U.S. government entities, NGO's, and private sector actors. Working with the sponsoring agency or organization, IIE had the flexibility to design placements to address specific needs in economic growth, education, health, youth & development, humanitarian assistance and other technical areas.

EMDAP Advisers were recruited from top graduate schools and were selected based on their background & skills, leadership qualities, problem solving capabilities, and communication and analysis abilities. Through 12-month fellowship work assignments, advisers produced tangible improvements and sustainable systems in existing as well as start-up organizations in various areas such as business planning, organizational operations, product marketing, financial systems and reporting, human resources and internet technology.

Program Objectives

For Local Entrepreneurs: Strengthen Business Skills

Encourage and support broad-based economic growth, as well as enhancement of the management practices of local entrepreneurs in developing countries through assistance to small and medium-sized businesses.

For U.S. Graduate Schools: Develop International Business Training

Bring home development lessons learned in the field to prepare U.S. students for work in and with developing countries, as well as expansion of the graduate business school curricula to include the business practices of emerging markets.

For the U.S. Business Community: Increase International Competence of U.S. Workforce

Enlarge the reservoir of internationally competent U.S. business executives available to assist American companies in doing business with emerging markets.

For the Global Business Community: Increase U.S. Business Linkages Overseas

Utilize previously established professional and personal contacts with developing country enterprises in order to capitalize on trade and investment opportunities abroad.

For USAID: Capacity Development
Increasing its capacity for developing human resources in support of broad-based, sustainable economic growth.

Program Impact & Case Studies

An impact study demonstrated the program’s effectiveness in achieving its objectives, with all five elements benefiting from EMDAP. The impacts were immediate as well as long-term. Several host companies and organizations reported improvements in their operations within months of the Adviser’s arrival.

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 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 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 went 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.

To further promote the program's long-term goal of expanding the understanding of business issues in emerging markets, EMDAP Advisers developed case studies that illustrated important considerations for best business practices in emerging markets. With assistance from university experts, these case studies were refined and published.

The first volume of these case studies, Portraits of Small Businesses from the Developing World, the second, third and fourth volumes, Portraits of Business Practices in Emerging Markets, and the accompanying instructor’s manuals have been distributed widely to U.S. business schools and are available for free online.  

USAID Collaboration

Under a cooperative effort between USAID, the Institute of International Education (IIE), and Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), the Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program was supported by USAID missions overseas, USAID’s implementing partners and USAID in Washington, DC.

Work assignments were identified in collaboration with the USAID/HQ CTO and with each cooperating USAID field mission. Mission Officers who generally serve as Mission contacts, selected Advisers (in consultation with Host organizations) by matching candidate credentials with the requirements of the assignments they identified. This phase ensured that work assignments supported USAID economic development objectives and it identified Advisers whose skills and experience best matched a particular assignment.

Participating Countries (1992-2014)

  • Armenia
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haití
  • Indonesia
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • USA/DC
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe