Arkebe Oqubay

Advisory board member

British Academy Global Professor at SOAS University of London

Arkebe Oqubay (PhD) is a distinguished scholar practitioner. He holds the British Academy Global Professor position at SOAS University of London, leading pioneering research on the greening of Africa’s economic development.

He is a former Senior Minister and Special Advisor to three successive Prime Ministers of Ethiopia. He has been at the centre of policymaking in Ethiopia for over thirty years. Arkebe successfully led bold reforms and played a key role in Ethiopia’s economic transformation at different levels of government.

He has been recognised internationally for his innovative and strategic leadership role in Ethiopia’s economic transformation and for championing the country’s pioneering industrial development model, which is being replicated across many African countries.

He is the former Mayor of Addis Ababa, recognised for transforming the city. He also led the Ministry of Works and Urban Development and the boards of key public enterprises, including Ethiopian Airlines.

Dr Arkebe’s remarkable contributions have garnered recognition and accolades. In 2005, he was acclaimed as the African Best Mayor for his work transforming Addis Ababa, making him a finalist for World Mayor in 2006.

He is the recipient of various awards, including the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed upon him by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of his dedicated contributions to Africa’s industrialisation.

He was also Africa’s sole candidate for the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), unanimously endorsed by the African Union.

Dr Arkebe has championed Africa’s industrialisation and economic transformation, and his distinctive leadership perspective bridges his practical experiences and extended policy expertise with scholarly pursuits. Dr Arkebe currently gives policy advice to, and consults for, African governments and international organisations.

The NewAfrican recognised Dr Arkebe as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2016 and a “leading thinker on Africa’s strategic development” for his work on industrialisation and industrial policies. His authored, co-authored, and co-edited works with Oxford University Press include Made in Africa (2015), How Nations Learn (2019), China-Africa and an Economic Transformation (2019); African Economic Development: Evidence, Theory, and Policy (2020); The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Hubs and Economic Development (2020); The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Policy (2020); The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy (2021); and the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook on the Greening of Economic Development (2024).

Dr Arkebe is an ODI Distinguished Fellow and a UNU-WIDER Honorary Research Fellow. He is also a Professor of Practice at the University of Johannesburg, an Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town, and a Distinguished Professor at Fudan University (Shanghai) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. He holds a PhD in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London.