Growing the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: Engaging the U.S. Development Finance Corporation

A recording of this program will be posted as soon as it is available

The State Department cordially invites you to participate in a discussion on May 24 at 10 am ET, hosted by the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs with Deputy Assistant Secretary Lesslie Viguerie, Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Regional Managing Director for South Asia Ajay Rao, and DFC Policy Coordinator for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Middle East James Miller.  

The discussion will focus on the DFC’s mandate to bolster economic development by supporting investment in private sector-led projects in lower-income countries and the agency’s work in Pakistan. Participants will learn how the DFC can potentially help support their projects through its financing tools. 


Lesslie C. Viguerie is the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pakistan Affairs within the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA).  Prior to assuming this role, he was Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at U.S. Embassy New Delhi.  A Senior Foreign Service Officer, he previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and in Washington as Director for Europe and Asia in the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau and Director for Central Asia in the South and Central Asia Bureau.  Aside from an earlier assignment as Deputy Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy New Delhi, Mr. Viguerie served overseas as Senior Director of the Interagency Rule of Law Section in U.S. Embassy Kabul and as External Political Relations Chief in U.S. Embassy Moscow.  He was also posted to Dhaka and Porto Alegre, Brazil.  In Washington, he served on the State Department’s Pakistan Desk and in the UN Political Affairs Office. 

Mr. Viguerie is a graduate of George Washington and Catholic Universities and is a member of the District of Colombia Bar Association. 

Ajay Rao is an experienced impact investor in emerging and frontier markets specializing in healthcare, agribusiness, and financial institutions.  He also has experience in port infrastructure and small- and mid-sized enterprise-focused debt funds.  Prior to his current position as the Regional Managing Director for South Asia at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Ajay served as a Director on the DFC’s Social Enterprise Finance Team, originating and underwriting investments worldwide including Georgia, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, India and Pakistan.  In South Asia, Ajay has led seven projects totaling over $100 million in DFC loans that catalyzed over $125 million of private sector investment for Indian small businesses.  Prior to DFC/OPIC Ajay was a small business banker at Citibank, N.A.     

Ajay is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College.  Ajay is also an alumnus of the Caux Scholars Program which provides training to young professionals in conflict resolution and peace building. 

James Miller is the Policy Coordinator for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Middle East at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.  A career diplomat, James has served in the U.S. Embassies in Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Baghdad, Paris and Jerusalem.  He has also worked in Washington in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.  Before joining the U.S. Government, James taught international political economy at Bard College in New York.  He has a Master’s and PhD in International Relations from Cambridge University, and a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University.

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