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David Himbara

Educator, political economist and author

David Himbara is an educator, political economist and author currently working as a consultant focusing on African economic reform.

Previously, Mr. Himbara has taught at universities including the University of Witwatersrand’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management in South Africa from 2010 to 2013. While there, Mr. Himbara led a team that succeeded in bringing the World Bank’s Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) to the university, where the program supports governmental clients throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Between 2011 and 2013, Mr. Himbara also worked as a lead consultant at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein, South Africa. In addition, he served as a lead consultant for the African Development Bank in Tunisia in 2011, and in 2010, he served as chief strategist for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa.

A Rwanda native, Mr. Himbara spent a total of six years working for President Paul Kagame: from 2006 to 2010 as the head of strategy and policy in the Office of the President and from 2000 to 2002 as the principal private secretary to the president. From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Himbara worked in South Africa as a lead strategist for North Cape Provincial Government before serving as a lead strategist on a joint Development Bank of South Africa-University of Witwatersrand project. Mr. Himbara returned to Rwanda in 2006 after President Kagame offered him a role focused on economic development. Tasked with improving national competitiveness, Mr. Himbara spearheaded efforts that ultimately improved Rwanda’s ranking in the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report from 143rd to 67th out of 183 countries; Rwanda was named top reformer by the World Bank in 2010.

Prior to his time in Rwanda, Mr. Himbara was based in South Africa working as a private consultant; major assignments included lead consultancy on trade and investment harmonization for the Southern African Community and lead strategist on Indonesian export policy into South Africa. He also lectured on economic development as a senior lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand from 1994 to 1997 and was an assistant professor at Southern University in Louisiana from 1991 to 1993.

Mr. Himbara completed his PhD in political economy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 1991. His dissertation on the role of domestic entrepreneurs and the state in socioeconomic transformation was published as a book in 1994: "Kenyan Capitalists, the State and Development."
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How Would Bill Clinton Rate These Leaders He Famously Called 'New Breed'?

Far from spearheading democratic governance, the new breed have built ruthless totalitarian regimes to a varying degree. Of the quartet Eritrea is the most closed and most repressive, routinely denying its people access to the outside world. Since independence from Ethiopia in 1993 Eritrea has been ruled by as a one-party state headed by Afewerki, who tolerates no opposition.
02/18/2015 06:00 EST
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why Did the U.S. Deny President Clinton Immunity But Grant It to a Foreign Head of State?

Here is the irony of ironies. Over a decade earlier, U.S. President Bill Clinton failed in his attempt to use immunity argument for a sitting head of state in a sexual harassment case that pre-dated his term in office. In May 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that "the President, like all other government officials, is subject to the same laws that apply to all other members of our society."
02/08/2015 10:25 EST
Pier Marco Tacca via Getty Images

Lessons on Rwanda and Senegal From the IMF

The visit to Rwanda and Senegal by the IMF's Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, between January 26-30 offers useful insights. From official statements made in the respective states, we draw Lagarde's and IMF's views on the two countries' political economy. In so doing, it becomes evident that Senegal and Rwanda are as different as night and day.
02/02/2015 12:26 EST
AFP via Getty Images

Three Days When Kenya Politics Went Over The Top

As a long-term and keen observer of Kenyan political economy, I am always struck by the difference between its business class and the political elite. Here is East Africa's only middle-income nation, and home to world-class innovative companies such as Safaricom, whose mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing services have since expanded into Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe
01/20/2015 12:45 EST

Obama's Megawatt Diplomacy Is Great News For Sub-Saharan Africa

Obama is rightly emphasizing the reality that electricity is an input into nearly every good and service in households, villages, towns and national economies. A region in which 600 million out of 960 million are without power cannot possibly ignite, expand or sustain economic growth and development.
01/05/2015 12:31 EST
Dennis McColeman via Getty Images

Canada's Approach to International Development Is Embarrassing

On close examination, however, it becomes evident that not only is Canada's approach to development assistance outdated, it is outright embarrassing and risks ruining Canada's international reputation. I often use the term "lost in transition" to describe aid that barely gets to its intended beneficiaries, a concept that is appropriate for Canada's case. Even when poorly conceived and executed aid gets to the recipient, it often does more harm than good.
01/02/2015 03:07 EST
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Most of Sub-Saharan Africa's Aid Is "Lost in Transition"

Sub-Saharan Africa is locked in paradox. The United States is the largest SSA donor by volume, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and France. Which then begs the question -- where does this money go given the fact that SSA's population remains desperately poor? The short answer is that aid is largely "lost in transition."
12/24/2014 12:02 EST
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Three Great Things that Happened in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa did not have a particularly good year. There were internal conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic. Nigeria's north and Kenya experienced considerable insecurity that led to loss of lives. But great things happened in Sub-Saharan Africa -- one new and two ongoing efforts -- a combination of which hold tremendous potential to empower and improve lives.
12/21/2014 10:32 EST