James Shikwati joins Aid by Trade Foundation Board of Trustees

23.05.2011

The Aid by Trade Foundation welcomes a new member to its Board of Trustees. James Shikwati, renowned for his criticism of classic development aid, will provide assistance in the Foundation’s activities and the achievement of its future objectives.

The charismatic Kenyan James Shikwati is a staunch supporter of market liberalism and is convinced that Africa’s development should rely on free trade. He explains his commitment to the Aid by Trade Foundation: “I support the Foundation and its initiative because it gives African smallholders access to the world market. I believe that those who want to help Africa should trade with the continent and see to it that goods are processed locally in order to increase the added value in the country of origin.”

Shikwati was born in 1970 and grew up in Rift Valley province in western Kenya. He studied from 1990 to 1995 at the University of Nairobi and worked after graduating as a geography, sociology and ethics teacher at Kiptewit High School in Kenya. In 2001 he turned his back on teaching to devote his energies to economics. At the age of just thirty years he founded the first liberal market research institute in Africa, the Inter-Region Economic Network (IREN), in Nairobi. Since then, the self-taught economist Shikwati has been a dedicated supporter of the development of Africa and of market liberalism. He has written numerous articles and commentaries on economic themes and has worked as a consultant for organisations such as the Africa Resource Bank and Newcastle University. In 2008 the World Economic Forum named him one of the 250 Young Global Leaders.

He is now a member of the Board of Trustees of the Aid by Trade Foundation and is supporting the Foundation in achieving its objectives in Africa. He took part last week in his first Board meeting and is already fully involved in the Foundation’s work, where his experience and network of contacts will be an enormous bonus.

Members of the Board of Trustees of the Aid by Trade Foundation include leading international personalities from environmental associations, research institutions and the business world such as Nicholas Earlam, CEO of Plexus Cotton in Liverpool, and Ibrahim Malloum, representative of the government of Chad responsible for the development of local textile production. Chaired by Michael Otto, it ensures that the Foundation’s core aims — improving the social situation in Africa and promoting environmental protection — are implemented in the long term.