Stephen Gelb

Honorary Associate

Stephen Gelb leads on Private Sector Development at ODI, where he is Principal Research Fellow. He spent thirty years doing economic research and policy in South Africa, including advising Presidents Mandela and Mbeki on macroeconomics, domestic and foreign private investment, and public expenditure.

He led economic analysis on three major government projects and worked for the Development Bank of Southern Africa. He has consulted for the World Bank, UN agencies and several African and Asian governments. He established and led for ten years an independent policy research institute in Johannesburg. He has taught postgraduate economics, political science and development studies in South Africa, Canada, the US and Switzerland.

He has written extensively on macroeconomics, foreign direct investment, and political economy in South Africa; on outward foreign investment from China; and on FDI and value chains in many industries including garments, electronics, pharmaceuticals, financial services and tourism. His work has been shaped by a long-standing interest in businesses’ strategy and decision processes, and their economic and political effects. His current research focusses on the links between corporate strategy, corporate collective action and ESG outcomes; on economic resource flows associated with migration; on the renewal of political economy; on the development impact of FDI and value chains; and on enterprise and skills development in low-income countries.

Country research and work experience: South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, UK, Switzerland, Canada.