About Harris Africa Partners
Grant T. Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC and advises companies and organizations on strategy, policy, and mitigating risk with respect to doing business in Africa.
For four years, Harris served as the principal advisor to President Barack Obama on issues related to Africa, serving as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House from August 2011 to August 2015.
In this role, Harris initiated and coordinated U.S. policies toward the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including political, economic, and security matters. Harris conceived of and was a primary lead in implementing the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in which President Obama hosted 51 African Leaders in Washington, DC in August 2014. The Summit generated $37 billion in new commitments to support trade, investment, and development across Africa.
Harris also initiated and coordinated the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, to encourage greater U.S. trade and investment; launched the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, to support emerging leaders; and conceived and was the primary architect of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, signed by President Obama in 2012. During his time at the White House, Harris also oversaw U.S. efforts to create and implement the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, and led the U.S. response to various peace and security crises across Africa.
Prior to this position, Harris was Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. Previously, Harris was an associate at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he focused on international business transactions. Prior to that, Harris served in the African Affairs Directorate at the National Security Council at the White House under President Bill Clinton and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
Harris holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s in Public Affairs, with Distinction, from Princeton University, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley. His writings have appeared in such publications as The Washington Post; Forbes; TIME; U.S. News & World Report; Foreign Affairs; Foreign Policy; HuffPost SA; The Hill; Yale Journal of Law & Policy; Berkeley Journal of International Law; Horizons; Israel Law Review (peer-reviewed); and The San Francisco Chronicle. He is a frequent conference speaker and has been widely quoted on Africa issues in U.S., international, and African media. In January 2017, Harris was appointed by President Obama to serve on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Harris has also served as a non-executive independent director on the board of the Africa Finance Corporation, an international financial institution that has invested more than $4 billion in infrastructure projects across Africa.