Neissan Besharati

Neissan joined PAIRS as Director of Development Advisory. He holds a PhD (Public Policy & Development Management) from University of Witwatersrand (South Africa). He is as a senior research associate at several prominent development think-tanks and visiting professor at a number of international universities. Neissan has extensive experience as a development consultant working with multinational corporations (EY, PWC, Deloitte) and serving as a senior technical advisor to governments, philanthropies, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors and regional organisations. He currently sits on various UN, World Bank, AU and OECD expert groups and committees. He is a globally respected thought leader in the areas of international development cooperation, monitoring and evaluation, development finance, public-private partnerships, education policy, emerging economies and South-South cooperation.


  • Director of Development Advisory at Pan-African Investment and Research Services (Pty) Ltd.
  • Member of the Expert Group on Emerging Economies and Africa of the UN Office of the Special Advisor for Africa (OSAA)
  • Visiting Professor at Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Rio de Janeiro, BRICS Policy Centre
  • Senior Trainer on South-South Cooperation for UN Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development 
  • Senior Research Associate at University of Witwatersrand, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR)
  • Council Member of International Evaluation Academy
  • Faculty at University of Bern, International Programme for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET)
  • Senior M&E and RBM Technical Advisor for UNICEF India


  • Senior Technical Expert at Ernst & Young Africa
  • Senior Advisor on Think Tanks to the African Union Development Agency (2020)
  • Associate Director of Deloitte Development Africa (2019-2020)
  • Senior M&E Advisor to World Bank Nigeria and Presidential Committee for the North-East Initiative (2017-2018)
  • Senior Consultant on Development Finance for UNDP Sudan, Malawi, Korea (2017-2019)
  • M&E Technical Advisor for Gates Foundation & Qatar Development Fund (2018)
  • Senior Programme Manager at Institute for Global Dialogue (2017-2018)
  • Programme Manager at South African Institute of International Affairs (2011-2017)
  • Aid Effectiveness Advisor to National Treasury of South Africa (2010-2012)
  • Head of UNV Programme in Cambodia (2008-2010)
  • Joint Programme Coordinator (Youth) for UN Country Team in Afghanistan (2005-2007)
  • Executive Director of Global Perspective Development Centre, Kosovo (2001-2004)
  • Secretary General of European Baha’i Youth Council (1998-2001)


  • PhD in Public Policy & Development Management (University of Witwatersrand, 2016)
  • Masters in International Social Development (University of New South Wales, 2005)
  • BA Honors in Media, Culture & Communications (Middlesex University, 2001)