Business & Public Policy

Leading expert on strategy and political risk in emerging markets


Grant T. Harris is a Lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He has 20 years of private and public sector experience related to doing business in emerging markets. He is currently CEO of Connect Frontier LLC, a consultancy that advises companies and organizations on strategy, policy, and mitigating risk with respect to doing business in emerging markets.

Harris previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House from 2011-2015. In this role, Harris conceived the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which generated $37 billion in new commitments to support trade, investment, and development across Africa. Harris also initiated President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign and launched the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative.

As former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, his portfolio included East Asia and Africa. Previously, Harris was an attorney at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he focused on cross-border transactions in Latin America. Harris also served in the African Affairs Directorate at the White House under President Bill Clinton and in 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 Harvard Business Review; 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; Israel Law Review; and The San Francisco Chronicle. He is a frequent conference speaker and has been widely quoted in U.S. and international media, including The New York Times; The Financial Times; BBC; CNBC; CBS News; and The Wall Street Journal.

Harris is also an Adjunct Professor of Global Management at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, where he teaches on doing business in emerging markets, and a Professorial Lecturer of International Affairs at Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, where he teaches on political risk.

Expertise and Research Interests

Emerging markets, international business, strategy, political risk, public policy, commercial diplomacy, social impact, pandemic response and economic effects, U.S. foreign policy, national security, international development