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Top Kenyan Economists To Watch In 2024

Kenya’s economy has been growing steadily in recent years, and much of that growth can be attributed to the contributions of the country’s top economists.

These economists have not only made significant contributions to the field of economics but also played a crucial role in shaping economic policy in Kenya.

In this article, WoK takes a look at some of Kenya’s top economists to watch in 2023.

David Ndii

David Ndii is a reputable economist, author a d columnist.

He worked with the opposition for long before shifting to William Ruto’s camp prior to the August 9 General Elections.

In October 2022, a month after the elections, he was appointed chairperson of the President’s Council of Economic advisors.

In July 2020, Ndii was ranked position 22 in top 100 economists globally, after a Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo.

He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Nairobi and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford on Rhodes Scholarship.

James Shikwati

James Shikwati is the Director of the Inter Region Economic Network, a company that promotes freedom of trade as the driving solution to poverty in Africa.

He is also the founder of The African Executive, an online business opinion magazine and country director of Enactus Kenya, a program present in 33 Kenyan universities.

He holds a Bachelor of Eduaction Arts (BEd. Arts)  from the University of Nairobi.

Njuguna Ndung’u

63-year-old Njuguna Ndung’u is the current Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury & Economic Planning.

Prior to his appointment, the economist served as the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

AERC is a Pan African premier capacity building network of researchers, trainers, students, universities, policy makers and international resource persons.

He has also previously served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

Ndung’u holds a PhD in economics from University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Muthoni Ngatia

Muthoni Ngatia is a Data Scientist and Economist currently working with Microsoft.

She joined Microsoft in March 2023 having worked with Amazon as an economist from July 2020 to February 2023.

Prior to her stint at Amazon, she worked with the World Bank as a young professional and economist between September 2015 and June 2020.

Muthoni has an A.B. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University.

She is also a recipient of grants from J-PAL, PEDL, Kilimo Trust, and The Russell Sage Foundation among others.

Kwame Owino

Kwame Owino is the CEO of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), a public policy think tank based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Prior to his current position, he worked as the research officer at IEA-Kenya for its economic regulation programme.

He was responsible for writing policy briefs and participating in policy dialogue in competition policy, employment economics and regulation policy.

Andrew Dabalen

Andrew Dabalen is the current World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, a role he assumed in July 2022.

He is charged with developing economic studies in the region that will shape the implementation of development projects funded by the World Bank. 

Dabalen has held various positions including Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region, Lead Economist and Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in Africa.

He has also served as Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in the South Asia Region.

Dabalen holds a master’s degree in International Development from University of California – Davis.

He also holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from University of California – Berkeley.

Urjit Patel

Urjit Patel is a Kenyan-born Indian economist who has served as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and also Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India.

He served as the Governor of RBI from September 2016 to December 2018 when he resigned citing personal reasons.

Two years after his resignation from RBI, he started serving as the chairman of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

Patel was born in Nairobi in 1963; his grandfather, a manufacturer, relocated to Kenya in the 20th century.

The economist studied at Visa Oshwal Primary School then Jamhuri High School, and later London School of Economics for a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984.

Ken Gichinga

Ken Gichinga currently serves as the Chief Economist at Mentoria Economics, an economics analysis and business advisory company in Nairobi.

He has previously worked for Equity Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa as Senior Economist between July 2010 and August 2015.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Havard University.

Joel Maina

Joel Maina is the co-founder of African Research & Economic Development Consultants Ltd.

AFREDEC is an economic consultancy firm providing research services in finance and economic development, agriculture and rural development.

He holds an MSc. degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Egerton University under the Collaborative Masters for Agriculture and Applied Economics (CMAAE) specializing in agricultural policy and trade option in the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

He is also a holder of a BSc. in Agricultural Economics from Egerton University.

Patrick Njoroge

Patrick Njoroge is the former Central Bank Governor following his appointment in June 2015 having been appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Prior to his appointment, he worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 20 years with his latest job being IMF Mission Chief for the Commonwealth of Dominica. 

He has also worked as an economist at the Ministry of Finance and as a planning officer at the Ministry of Planning in the past.

Njoroge holds Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics from the University of Nairobi and a PhD in Economics from Yale University.