Ethiopian PhD students
The Ph.D. students attend a program run by EfD, the University of Gothenburg, and Addis Ababa University.
Photo: Petra Hansson

“I hope to help improve the livelihoods of people”


The premises of Environment for Development, EfD, located at the Department of Economics usually hosts a very international crowd of staff and visiting scholars. Currently, it’s even more so: Fourteen Ph.D. students from Ethiopia are attending a bilateral Ph.D. program. Meet one of them, Gidisa Lachisa!

The Ph.D. program, which is run by EfD and the Department of Economics at the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, includes studies in Gothenburg twice per year, three months at a time.

Great working conditions

“When I’m here, I can really focus on my work. I have access to excellent supervisors and other academic staff who give me a lot of support and feedback and I attend very good seminars that are not available in Addis Ababa,” says Gidisa Lachisa.

“The work environment is also very good, with access to the internet, a library, and subscriptions to a variety of high-quality scientific articles. I am very grateful that I have gotten this opportunity,” he says.

The three-month stays have an optimal length according to Gidisa. While at home in Addis, many obligations distract him from his studies; working to sustain the family, and taking care of social issues among others.

“But if I would stay longer, it would be too hard for my wife and I would miss my family too much.”

Learning experience

There are of course a lot of differences between the bustling Ethiopian capital with over five million people and the much smaller and sparsely populated city of Gothenburg. Gidisa Lachisa finds that his non-academic experiences during his stay have been inspirational and interesting.

If you ask the locals, most would say that Gothenburg is chaotic with all the construction work and infrastructure projects going on. But a visitor from Ethiopia has another perspective.

Gidisa Lachisa
Gidisa Lachisa
Photo: Petra Hansson

“It’s a beautiful city and people have a great quality of life. I have learned much about the culture, the infrastructure, and how to build a good city. I’m impressed by the discipline and politeness. For instance, when the tram comes, you let those inside get out before you get on. On the other hand, there is less social interaction, people are quieter which was odd for me in the beginning,” he says.

Economists have an important role

Gidisa Lachisa is doing his 5th year of the Ph.D. program. His research focuses on households’ livelihoods, shocks, and health outcomes.

What made you interested in Economics in the first place?

“In developing countries, you don’t often have the chance to follow your dream. You have to accept what happens to be available to you. I was very lucky to be able to study Economics. Poverty is a big issue in countries like Ethiopia. But a lot can be done by policymakers to improve society and economists have an important role here.”

What will you do after your exam?

“My gut feeling says I will stay within academia, teaching and doing research. I want to contribute to a generation with more knowledge and also provide policy recommendations for decision-makers. I hope I can contribute to addressing the problems of our society and improve the livelihoods of people.”

By: Petra Hansson

Facts about the program

EfD, in collaboration with the Department of Economics, the University of Gothenburg, runs a bilateral collaborative Ph.D. program in Economics with Addis Ababa University and the University of Rwanda.

The program is funded by The Swedish International Development Cooperation, Sida.

The collaboration involves specialization courses, such as Development Economics, Applied Econometrics, Behavioral and Experimental Economics, and Environmental Economics, plus co-supervision of Ph.D. students' dissertations by colleagues at the University of Gothenburg and the collaborating universities. 

The program also provides post-doc and visiting scholar opportunities to come to Gothenburg and conduct collaborative research. 

For more information about the program, please contact Yonas Alem.