Owen Barder is Vice President, Director of CGD Europe and Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. He is also a Visiting Professor in Practice at the LSE and a Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Commons International Development Committee. His professional interests are the political economy of development policies and aid, transparency and accountability, innovative finance, public financial management, information, knowledge, technology, new media, Africa, health economics.

From 2007-2011 Owen was based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  In this time he was the Director of aidinfo – a programme of Development Initiatives which aims to make information about aid more easily accessible. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Before that, Owen was a British civil servant in a career spanning more than 20 years.  He worked worked at the UK Department for International Development, as Director of International Finance and Development Effectiveness, Director of Communications, Information and Knowledge, and as Head of Africa Policy Department.

Before working on international development, Owen was the Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Private Secretary, in 10 Downing Street. In this role, he coordinated Government policy and delivery on microeconomic policy, including trade and industry, the knowledge economy, environment, transport, regional policy, education, employment, science, and modernizing government. From 1988 to 1997, Owen was an official at H M Treasury. His roles included being Private Secretary to two successive Chancellors of the Exchequer, coordinating the public spending system, forecasting the world economy, forecasting and analysis of domestic labour markets, and medium term macroeconomic policy analysis.

Owen took various breaks from the civil service to work in the South African Treasury, where he helped to develop a medium term budget process, the Center for Global Development where he helped to develop the Advance Market Commitment for vaccines, and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1993, Owen set up the UK Government’s first website, for H M Treasury.

From 2011 to 2015 he was an Associate at the Institute for Government. From 2009 to 2015, Owen was a member of the Advisory Board of Twaweza, which promotes opportunities for citizens in East Africa to hold government authorities to account.  From 2000 to 2004, Owen was a non-executive director of OneWorld, a not-for-profit whose mission is to promote the use of the internet and media for the benefit of the world’s poor.


Owen Jackson · January 8, 2009 at 10:15 am

I do apreciate the work that you are doing.I’M VERY INTERESTED TO WORK WITH YOU,Although now I’m a student at Tumaini University-Iringa-in Tanzania in the course of Community Development [BACD]

Rami · March 10, 2009 at 8:44 am

Hi Owen, on a different note (than the internet issues), we may have to work together while/if I am sent to AA. I am with the French foreign service. I am currently in Pretoria working on domestic political issues. Best.

James · September 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Hello Owen

I currently volunteer for the governance working group of a non-profit organisation called Advocates for International Development (http://www.a4id.org/) here is a brief description of its work:

A4ID facilitates free legal assistance to civil society, developing country governments, social enterprise and bar associations to help achieve the UN MDGs

In the past the A4ID governance working group has been involved in projects such as:

*Reporting the Charles Taylor Trial – Training for the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Press
*Collaboration between A4ID and the Lao Bar Association (LBA)

Please take a look at the website and let me know if you think A4ID could be of assistance to you.

I wish you all the best with your work.

Kind Regards


Michael · September 30, 2009 at 1:52 am


Good job and a great website (the running one)! It’s great of you to be doing work to better everyone’s lives as well.


johnnyg · November 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

you’ve found a small enclave of followers and fans at my website http://www.therunningbug.co.uk – keep up the good work – and the running; we love your site and the valuable converters you have created.

Gary Locke · December 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Hi Owen!
My company develops language learning software. I’m looking for people in Ethiopia who have an interest in video to make some simple videos in Amharic, which will be integrated in our product. Naturally, we’ll pay. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in this, please let me know.


    Jerry Ra · January 12, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Gary!
    Are you still looking for someone to make videos in Amharic? If so, please contact me, I can help you with that.
    You can email me: amharic [at] hyperbeam [dot] net

tibebu · March 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

hi Owen
its nice work i want to say u is that just keep it up.am an elcetrical engineer workiing in ethioian telecomm corporation but i need your help in developing websites becouse am assigned to work in this area.
with regards!

Wondowssen Worku · May 21, 2010 at 6:41 am

Hi Owen,
It is nice to see your work here in Ethiopia. I work for Development Expertise Center (DEC-Ethiopia)
I often write articles and published some on the weekly Fortune.
The issues I wrote about include government, NGO tussle for Development resources, MFI’s effectiveness and many more,
I would like to work for or with you.
Would love to learn more and see changes flourishing everywhere.

Manoj K Yadav · November 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Hi Owen,

Came across your blog while tweeting. Great to see your work across various disciplines, keep up the good job. Liked your website as well, clean and easy on the eyes. I was wondering if you have come across Microfinance. Would love to hear more about that.



James VanOpdorp · February 28, 2014 at 11:30 am

Happy to find your blog and I’m very impressed by your resume. My focus is East Africa and as part of my research I see room for substantial improvement in  what seems to be a balkanized aid/fair trade advocacy industry. Hope to learn a lot from you. 

Charles P Barder · July 4, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Dear Owen,

I have accidently come upon your name and work while reading an article on Philanthropy. What I noticed is that we share the last name of Barder. My grandparents came to the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century from what was then Yugoslavia (Croatia and Slovenia specifically) and the original name was Brdar. The name was “Ellis Island-ized” by the U.S. immigration people as they did to so many foreigners coming in. So I doubt that we are related but thought I would send you a post to see.

Your work looks amazing. So glad I came upon it.


Charles Barder

A few days in the field | Department for International Development · March 5, 2014 at 4:40 pm

[…] question of which model is more appropriate lies at the heart of the development debate. Owen Barder has recently written an article arguing that commitment to long-term sustainability should not […]

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