Our Approach

We work with public and private stakeholders to craft homegrown, future-oriented strategies for the sustainable and inclusive transformation of African economies.

Applying a unique mix of local and global knowledge, we identify potential pathways for long-term development in the region, diagnose the binding constraints holding back progress, and explore opportunities to overcome those constraints. We then help change-makers design business models, policies and programmes that maximise impact by leveraging the most promising opportunities to tackle the most binding constraints.

Our Team

Max Walter
Executive Director

Max Walter is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Development Alternatives. He has led CDA research on SMEs, entrepreneurship, economic transformation, energy, skills development and labour markets.

Previously, he worked in D.R. Congo as a programme manager and technical adviser on ELAN RDC, one of the largest market systems development programmes worldwide. He has also worked extensively as an economic development consultant for a range of clients including Oxford Policy Management, Adam Smith International, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, Copia Global (a Nairobi-based social business), Slum Dwellers International, Christian Aid, GIZ and GOPA Consulting.

He spent the majority of his childhood in Uganda and has lived and worked in Kenya and Tanzania. He holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of York.

Yusuf Kiranda

Yusuf Kiranda is Co-founder and Director of the Centre for Development Alternatives. He is currently the Deputy Undersecretary to the Treasury at Makerere University.

Previously, Yusuf was a Programme Manager with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy and the Konrad- Adenauer-Stiftung as well as Director of the University Forum on Governance and the Uganda Chapter of the Global Forum on International Cooperation. He brings over 15 years of experience in political economy analysis, having worked with senior policymakers, political parties and civil society organizations. Yusuf has consulted numerous organisations including the World Bank, ActionAid International, the Democratic Governance Facility (Uganda).

He holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics, where he is a Fellow of the Programme for Africa Leadership, in addition to a BA in Education from Makerere University where he was also the President of the Student Guild.

Michael Mugisha

Michael Mugisha is Co-founder and Director of the Centre for Development Alternatives. He currently works as a Business Development Manager and MEL Advisor at Ibero Uganda (a leading coffee off- taker) as well as Assistant Lecturer at the School of Planning and Statistics at Makerere University.

Previously, he was a consultant in Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, where he was influential in the review of the 2014/15 Uganda Public Investment Plan (PIP) and implementation of a number of budget reforms.

Michael holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics, where he is a Fellow of the Programme for African Leadership, an MSc in Economics from London Metropolitan University, and BA in Demography and Population Studies from Makerere University.

Our Services


Market Insights

We employ market systems development approaches and systems thinking to help various stakeholders understand the market characteristics, constraints and opportunities of key sectors.

Political Economy Analysis

We help change-makers understand the region’s complex political economy at every level, unpacking the formal and informal power structures, interests and incentives of key stakeholders.

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

We design and implement MEL frameworks for a range of development interventions, combining quantitative and qualitative methods, and turning insights into actionable strategic recommendations.

Project Design

We work with development partners, NGOs, philanthropists and governments to design and set up projects and programmes that use robust evidence to prioritise scarce resources and maximise sustainable impact.

Social Business Strategy

We leverage our market insights and networks to help social entrepreneurs and impact investors develop or review business models and strategies that maximise viability, scalability and impact.

Policy Incubation

Applying our own problem-driven policy analysis framework, we work with political entrepreneurs and decision-makers to create impactful and politically smart policies that drive transformation in the region.