Mr. Robert Fries is a senior manager with more than 22 years of experience developing, managing and providing technical expertise in rural and agricultural finance. Mr. Fries is a leading innovator in the field of value chain finance and has developed and delivered training on incorporating value chain analysis into financial market assessments for USAID and SEEP. As the managing director of ACDI/VOCA’s Financial Services practice area, Mr. Fries identifies and disseminates best practices and products to overseas projects. In 2012, Mr. Fries co-authored “FIELD Report 13: Value Chain Finance Guide: Tools for Designing Project Interventions that Facilitate Investment in Key Value Chain Upgrades” funded by USAID. In 2011 he conducted a presentation titled “Lessons on the Road to Warehouse Receipts” at the Cracking the Nut conference. Under the USAID-funded Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project (AMAP) contract, he completed a study and framework paper titled “Value Chains and Their Significance for Addressing the Rural Finance Challenge.” He also presented a paper at the USAID-sponsored International Conference on Rural Finance Best Practices in 2003; co-authored the publication Making Rural Financial Institutions Sustainable (2000), a guidebook on fundamentals of planning, organizing and operating rural financial institutions to ensure that they will be sustainable and prepared “Basic Guidelines For Effective Rural Finance Projects,” an article on the World Bank’s web-based Guide to Developing Agricultural Markets & Agro-Enterprises. Mr. Fries currently serves as a board member for three ACDI/VOCA legacy financial institutions. Mr. Fries earned an M.P.I.A. in economic and social development from the University of Pittsburgh. He is fluent in Spanish.