On her way to Brookings


'I hope to be challenged and to be able to impact on policy. As a Development Economist I have always wanted to change people’s lives on the ground. At Brookings I hope I will be getting the tools for that', says Eyerusalem Siba, a former postdoctoral researcher at the School of Business, Economics and Law, who has just moved to Washington DC.

The Brookings Institution is one of the major and most influential think-tanks in the US. It has a clear focus on conducting research with policy implications.

'Of course such an experience will be good to have. It will probably be a springboard for a better position at the Brookings or elsewhere', says Eyerusalem Siba.

At the Brookings, Eyerusalem Siba will participate in research on sustainable development in Africa and continue the research she has been doing in Gothenburg which is about the development of the private sector in Africa.

'I am interested in enterprise development in a developing country context. I often investigate why it is so difficult for small businesses to develop. I look at access to finance, problems with infrastructure and political economy, and gender aspects.'

Eyerusalem Siba will join the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings and more specifically be part of the African Growth Initiative, which focuses on achieving sustainable development in Africa.

'The Brookings Institution is interested in reflecting the voice of African researchers in policy-making and planning. They are keen on getting African researchers’ point of view in order to influence the US government in making the right decisions, and to inform policy makers in Africa', says Eyerusalem Siba.

How will your new job differ from your present?
'We will see. It’s research but slightly different. For example, I will be expected to blog about my research, which is something that I have never done before. Also, they often refer to me as Dr Siba, which I am not used to in Sweden.'

Do you want to work in Ethiopia in the future?
'Yes, I would very much like to do so. That’s the long-term plan.'

What are the challenges in Ethiopia today that you would like to address?
'I would like to work with visions, so that kids will be able to dream, beyond what they see on the ground. The situation is improving – Ethiopia is a better place and the young generation has a much better opportunity than before. So if they are ambitious and work harder there are a lot of opportunities in the world.'

Eyerusalem Siba is from Ethiopia. While working at a research institute in Addis Ababa she came in contact with the Environment for Development Initiative, Efd, and Gunnar Köhlin, director and researcher at the Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg. She came to Gothenburg to study both master's and doctoral studies. She defended her PhD thesis – Essays on Industrial Development and Political Economy in Africa – in 2011. Since then she has held a postdoc position at the Department of Economics. In November 2015 she will start her new job as a research fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

More information:
Eyerusalem Siba
Brookings Institution