Kelbesa joined IDS in 2019. He is a researcher currently working for the K4D programme and is part of the Business, Markets and the State Cluster at IDS. He has an interest in broad areas of development research, with his main areas of expertise being in development finance, taxation and private sector development in developing countries.
As part of the K4D team, he helps time-pressured decision-makers working in development better understand, interpret and apply evidence, providing rapid reviews of available evidence. His subject areas within the team include private sector development, international trade, labour markets, development finance, and inclusive economic growth. His research at K4D supports learning and the use of evidence to improve the impact of development policy and programmes for DFID. The K4D team aspires to inform and influence international development policy on economic growth in low-and middle-income countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Previously, Kelbesa worked as a doctoral and post-doctoral researcher for the Belgian Policy Research Group on Financing for Development (BeFinD) at University of Namur. Apart from his own research, he provided research-based policy support for the development ministry of Belgium. Part of his role was to conduct research on the Value-Added Tax to facilitate reforms in Belgium’s partner countries (mainly, in Africa and Latin America). The objective was to improve Domestic Resource Mobilization in partner countries, in line with the current global ‘Financing for Development’ agenda. He was also involved in the administration of the research group – monitoring overall work progress, preparing annual financial reports and writing annual project reports. Before his position at BeFinD, he was a PhD student at University of Antwerp – conducting research on public finance challenges in developing countries.