Aklu Girgre, one of the founding partners of DSA, was educated at the College of Agriculture of Haile Selassie I University where he earned his B.Sc. degree in economics (1964). He also holds a master's degree in agicultural economics from the University of Maryland, USA (1968).

Aklu Girgre has held senior government positions in Ethiopian agriculture over a period of more than two decades. From 1982 to 1984 he was permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, where he was in charge of planning, coordination, and policy formulation and review of the peasant agriculture sector. From 1984 to 1988 he was vice minister of Agriculture responsible for the Main Department for Natural Resources Conservation and Development.

Prior to 1984 he served in positions of high responsibility in the Ethiopian Government - general manager of the Southern Agricultural Development Corporation, deputy general manager of the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, and head of the Feasibility Studies Division of the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank.

Since 1988, Aklu Girgre has been working as an economic consultant in rural development.