Interview with Anja Manuel, Principal at the RiceHadley Group

WIPA recently conducted an interview with Anja Manuel, principal of the RiceHadley Group created by former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.  Established in 2009, The RiceHadley Group is a consulting firm that advises clients on the political and economic conditions of new global markets.

The following interview transcript is a summary of this conversation

Many of our members have either had careers in international consulting or are about to embark on such a career. What approach do you take at RiceHadley and what does your work focus on?

Anja Manuel, Principal at the RiceHadley Group

We assist our clients in navigating the political aspects of investing in new markets.  For example, we help them understand the government leadership, political stability, history, economic conditions, incentives and trends as factors that shape the political landscape that may affect investment.

Taking this into account in tandem with a comprehensive economic picture of the country, we advise companies on how they can integrate this into their investment strategy as they enter a given market.

We have advised our clients in markets spanning the globe, but also acknowledge when we lack expertise in a particular area and then refer our clients to advisers with that specific expertise.

READ: India won’t outpace China without a few miracles by Anja Manuel for CNNMoney Asia Business Report. Feb 18th, 2011

As someone who has worked in both the private and public sector how have your views on policymaking evolved?

My work with the US Department of State and WilmerHale as an attorney, as well as with the RiceHadley Group helped to clarify, for me, the capacity and limits of the federal government in setting foreign policy.  While the U.S. government can be an enormously powerful force for good in emerging economies (through aid, by assisting with governance etc.), the private sector also has an enormous role to play.  For example, when a US corporation invests in a developing economy and trains its employees, it can have a positive effect beyond any economic aid the U.S. government is able to provide.

Do you think that public private partnerships (PPP) help to address this gap between aid and economic development?

Definitely. I think that the MCC [The Millennium Challenge Corporation]* is a wonderful example of the federal government utilizing private sector principles to good effect.  The MCC is a development fund disbursed by the U.S. governmenmt only to those countries that have a proven record of positive governance. Thus, instead of throwing “good aid money after bad” in countries that refuse to reform, the U.S. instead invests in countries that strive to help themselves (just and a venture capital firm invests in promising companies).  By emphasizing good governance, country-driven solutions and a competitive selection process the MCC has been able to have a tremendously positive impact on reducing poverty levels in those countries that are selected to participate.

* Taken from the MCC website: “The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support, MCC is changing the conversation on how best to deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results.”

I think that a continued emphasis, like this, on flexibility, efficiency and practical solutions in PPPs and the public sector would ultimately lead to strengthened, win-win outcomes for all stakeholders.

In light of this, what advice would you give to someone who is pursuing a career in public policymaking?

Public policy is an incredibly rewarding experience and opportunity.  I would strongly encourage anyone who is considering this career path to embark on it.  As Special Assistant to Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Nicolas Burns, I had the opportunity to be part of the negotiating team for the U.S.-India civilian nuclear accord.  It continues to remain one of my more significant personal and professional achievements.

I’d also encourage individuals to look at opportunities in global NGOs.  These organizations – especially innovative new Foundations such as the Skoll Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc.  do critical development work that is sometimes more difficult to accomplish from within the Washington bureaucracy.

Is it more difficult for women to have a career in foreign policy?

Women continue to face challenges in all sectors – the U.S. government included —  though they have improved dramatically over the past three decades.  Unfortunately, U.S. society still expects women to shoulder most of the burden in raising families, which then makes it harder for these women to do the networking and travel necessary to have a successful international policy career.  I wouldn’t let that discourage anyone from pursuing such a career – it’s well worth it!

Anja Manuel is a principal, with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley at RiceHadley Group LLC, a strategic consulting firm. The firm assists CEOs and senior executives at major U.S. companies to expand their businesses and meet regulatory challenges in key emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East.

In addition, Ms. Manuel is a lecturer in Stanford’s International Policy Studies Program, and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford’s Center for International Security.

From 2005 to 2007, Anja Manuel served as Special Assistant to Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns at the U.S. Department of State. In this role, Ms. Manuel had responsibility for South and Central Asia Policy, Congressional outreach and legal matters. She was part of the negotiating team for the U.S.-India civilian nuclear accord, helped to secure passage of the accord in the U.S. Congress, and was extensively involved in developing U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

From 2001 to 2005, and from late 2007 to 2009, Ms. Manuel was an attorney at the law firm of WilmerHale, where she specialized in international litigation and arbitration, anti-corruption matters, and Congressional investigations.

Ms. Manuel is a member of the Aspen India Group, the Center for a New American Security’s India Policy Group, and serves on the board of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative.

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One Response to Interview with Anja Manuel, Principal at the RiceHadley Group

  1. Pingback: What Is the RiceHadley Group? - PRNewser

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