Advisory Board Member
Adam Saffer is an international business and development professional with over 35 years of global investment, development, and executive management experience in frontier and emerging markets. He is known for his skills in helping companies scale, raising local as well as international commercial as well as concessionary finance, and co-creating implementable strategies and milestones to achieve mutual objectives. This includes a distinct focus on human capital development, internal and external strategic and market alignment, tech-enabled solutions to improve efficiency and profitability, and intra-regional trade.
Most recently, he was the Managing Director of the Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Facility, where he built a local team of 40 Nigerians working in 7 regional offices and raised over USD $50 million in debt and equity transactions from bilateral donors (USAID, DFID, EU, GIZ), multilateral development banks (World Bank, IFC, DFC, African Development Bank), and corporate foundations (BMGF, Master Card, Chevron Foundation). Key interventions centered around governance, attracting, retaining, and developing staff with the right skills and temperament, and facilitating relationships with buyers, suppliers, financial institutions, local government, and other stakeholders that are built on respect, confidence, and trust (2018-2020). Before Nigeria, he was in Egypt for 3 years where he ran an entrepreneurship and enterprise development project for USAID and an agricultural export project for the UNIDO.
Throughout his career, Adam’s insights on organizational development, restructuring capital, behavioural change, and operational improvements within enterprises have improved revenues for small and medium size enterprises ranging from USD $5 million - USD $50 million. From 2008-2010, Adam was the President of the Americas for Coffey Ltd., an Australian publicly traded USD $4 billion engineering and development firm (later purchased by Tetra Tech in 2015). In this role, with full P&L responsibility and a target for acquisitive growth in North and South America, he boosted net income by an average of over 20% annually. In South Africa (1997-2002), he was the CEO of ECI Africa, a private consulting firm focusing on creating market opportunities for black-owned SME manufacturing and service firms. Under his leadership, ECI grew from 2 to over 50 full time staff, raised over USD $200 million in blended finance (soft loans, grants, and commercial investments), and created 18,000 jobs.
Adam holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Cornell University, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. from Pacific University.
He speaks English and French and currently serves on the board of the Global Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He is also the chair of the Abuja International Choir, an avid guitarist, ocean sailor, scuba diver, wood worker, and squash player.