Karl Fickenscher

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Portrait of Karl Fickenscher
Acting Assistant Administrator

Karl Fickenscher is the Acting Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation (DDI), which is the central resource for providing world-class technical assistance to USAID’s field missions.  Previously,  he oversaw DDI’s Private Sector Engagement Hub, the Center for Economics and Market Development, and managed the agency’s relationship with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Prior to that, Karl served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) where he led the Offices of Private Capital and Microenterprise, and Development Credit. He is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service. 

Before arriving in E3 in October 2017, Mr. Fickenscher was the Deputy Coordinator for USAID’s Power Africa initiative based in Pretoria, South Africa, where he led the initiative’s energy technical, policy, and transaction teams. Prior assignments with the U.S. Government include Millennium Challenge Corporation Resident Country Director for Tanzania, USAID Mission Director and Deputy Mission Director in Armenia, and USAID Regional Legal Advisor covering several countries in East and Southern Africa.

Before moving to a career in international development, Mr. Fickenscher worked for several years in the private sector as an attorney with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, London, and Tokyo. In this capacity, his focus was on international business transactions and intellectual property rights, with a significant amount of pro bono litigation for the poor as well as legal advice for non-profit organizations.

Mr. Fickenscher received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and holds a master’s degree in African Area Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles. He also studied under a Rotary International fellowship in the M.Sc. in International Relations program at the University of Zimbabwe, and has a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics (Soviet Studies) from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Last updated: February 16, 2021

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