Rajakumari “Raja” Jandhyala is the founder, CEO, and managing partner of YAATRA Ventures, an investment platform which develops and deploys capital into energy infrastructure, power, and value-added downstream opportunities. She has 25 years of experience in establishing, directing, and managing organizations, companies and institutions in emerging markets and transitional economies in Africa and Asia. Ms. Jandhyala has provided cutting edge solutions to advance economic growth and accelerate private sector investments in energy, financial services, health services, mining sector resource reclamation, and agriculture.
Prior to founding YAATRA, Ms. Jandhyala was Managing Director for Clarety Global Investments’ emerging markets group, where she helped structure and negotiate a partnership to launch a $500 million fund and a $20 million special purpose vehicle. She also founded and served as President of Pangaea Consulting Inc., a firm housed within and affiliated with Johns Hopkins University that combines research and development financing to provide project finance to investments in Asia and Africa. She also served as the chief strategist for the restructuring and expansion of SMJ investments, a 70-year-old blue-chip financial services firm in Mumbai, a member of the national stock exchange with large institutional client portfolio dealing with debt, equity, and stock brokerage.
Ms. Jandhyala served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2010 to 2013, developing and implementing country investment strategies, plans, and budgets, while managing day-to-day operations of more than $5 billion of US investments in Africa and supervising a team of 500 staff in 13 country offices across the continent. At USAID, Ms. Jandhyala founded and established the Private Capital Group for Africa, designed to de-risk and accelerate investment opportunities in clean energy, health, and agriculture. She was also one of the architects of the $7 billion presidential initiative Power Africa which sought to increase access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. She oversaw strategic partnerships with companies including J.P. Morgan, Citibank, Carlyle Group, Zephyr Capital Management, Cambridge Associates, Symbion Energy, and others to accelerate private investments in the power sector in Africa.
Prior to her appointment to USAID, Ms. Jandhyala was a diplomat- senior advisor and managed the Peace and Security Division in the US State Department’s Office of President’s Special Envoy to Sudan. She developed strategies and led US negotiations with the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to develop the peace and security strategy ahead of independence.
A trained economist and management consultant, she joined the World Bank, where she worked on mining, health, agriculture, debt, and privatization portfolios with loans totaling $300 million. Following her service with the World Bank, she was employed by governments across Africa to develop, establish and manage national strategies, processes, and institutions for peace negotiations, deploy peacekeeping forces, enact complex policy reforms in security and development, and manage crises fueled by insurgencies, terrorism, resource competition, and political transitions. Ms. Jandhyala has held senior appointments and advisory positions within multiple African governments, including Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Angola, Uganda, and Liberia, in addition to the African Union (AU), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, and United Nations Special Representative to the DRC. During these appointments, she developed strategies, mobilized up to $800 million dollars for public and private investments, oversaw institutions with staffs of 300-500, and instituted de-risking to operations plans to achieve goals and strategies.
Ms. Jandhyala holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University. She lives in the Washington DC area on a dairy farm.