In 2011, Issa Baluch was invited by Harvard University to become a Fellow in their Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) program. The following year, he became a senior Fellow and Associate of Science, Technology, and Globalization at Harvard Kennedy School. He is now considered as a visiting Senior Fellow.
Issa is Chairman of First Hectares Capital, an agribusiness and forestry infrastructure investment company for Africa. Another African venture where Baluch is Chairman is
African Agribusiness Knowledge and Innovation Leadership Initiative (AKILI), a US-based non-profit organization that provides a financially, socially, and environmentally
sustainable farming system in Ghana that is scalable, builds capacity, and is globally competitive.
Since May 2014, AKILI has been hosted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Urbanism (MIT-CAU). This extended association between MIT and AKILI has boosted the interaction between the entities that have entailed more periodic weekly visitations by Issa and his AKILI colleagues to CAU.
Before Issa’s academic involvement with Harvard and MIT and agri-business ventures in Africa, he has published two books in transport logistics, headed international logistics organizations, and managed freight logistics companies spanning Africa, the Middle East, Far East, and North America. Here’s a summary of his professional qualifications:
Issa is credited with pioneering the thriving sea-air combined transport freight business in the UAE as Founder and CEO of Swift Freight International, which he headed from 1989 to 2008. Swift gained a reputation as one of the top freight logistics providers in the Middle East & Africa, with presence in over 25 countries within Africa,
the Indian Subcontinent, Asia, and North America.
He was founder and first president of the Dubai-based National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL), which he supervised from 1992 to 2000. He was again re-elected to the post and served from 2010 to 2011.
From 2005 to 2013, he served in the Advisory Board of the Government of Dubai and the Department of Civil Aviation, overseeing projects such as Dubai Logistics City and Dubai Flower Centre. During this time, Issa also served as Board member of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA). From 2011 to 2013, he served as Non-Executive Director at Wentworth Resources Limited, an East African-focused oil and natural gas producer and explorer covering Tanzania and Mozambique and is publicly-traded on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM: WRL) and the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSX: WRL).
Since 2007, Issa has served on the judging panel of the Aviation Business Awards, a Dubai-based celebrated awards ceremony encompassing the airline, airport and cargo sectors, along with supporting industries. Since 2009, Issa has served as Chairman of Transport Logistics USA LLC, based in North Carolina USA.
In January 2014, Issa assumed the role of Chairman of Dubai-based Freight Reach Services LLC. In August 2014, he was appointed to serve as Chairman of the working group of the Zurich -based FIATA Logistics Academy.
At present, Issa serves on the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations (FIATA), where he was president from 2003 to 2005; as well as Dubai-based company, Bectrum Investment International LLC. He also serves as Chairman of US-based Africa Atlantic Holdings Ltd., which is an agricultural development company currently installing a 10,000-hectare commercial agriculture park and franchise farming system on the shores of Lake Volta in Ghana, West Africa.
For his outstanding services to the international air cargo industry, Issa has so far received two Lifetime Achievement awards: in 2006 presented by Air Cargo News UK, and in 2013 presented by STAT Trade Times. In 2016, Issa won the International Business Excellence Awards 2016 in the Inspirational Male Leader category for his remarkable work in AKILI.
Issa has authored two books on transport logistics namely, Transport Logistics: Past, Present and Predictions, which was published in 2005; and Transport Logistics: The Wheel of Commerce, published in 2010.