Full Name
Mr. Richard Nelson
Job Title
Power Africa Coordinator
Speaker Bio
As Power Africa Coordinator, Richard oversees the U.S. government’s decade long initiative to
double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. With over 500 partners from the private
sector, African countries, other donor nations, and multilateral institutions, Power Africa is one of
the largest public-private initiatives in existence and collectively is transforming the face of Africa.
Richard joined Power Africa after serving as the Mission Director for USAID/Uganda. In that role,
he oversaw an expansive assistance portfolio encompassing health (HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria,
reproductive health, infectious diseases), economic growth, education, democracy/governance,
and humanitarian programs. Prior to Uganda he was the Deputy Coordinator for Power Africa
based in South Africa, supporting the initiative’s work directly on the continent. Before that,
Richard was a USAID legal officer based in Pretoria, Bangkok, Baghdad and Washington, D.C.
where he supported USAID numerous USAID missions working to advance the Agency’s
development objectives.
Prior to joining USAID as a Foreign Service Officer, Richard worked at Dell Inc in Austin, Texas,
where he helped lead global site selection efforts as well as Dell’s corporate social responsibility
activity in India. Before joining Dell, he was a Vice President at Wachovia Securities, an
investment bank in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he managed a $1B portfolio of syndicated
credit in the aerospace, health and government contracting sectors. Prior to joining the bank he
was an attorney with McGuireWoods, a major US law firm, where he primarily focused on capital
markets debt transactions.
Richard is a graduate of Harvard Law School (JD ’98) and Brigham Young University (BA ’95). He and his wife, Diana, have three daughters.