Paul Collier

I doubt that many of Africa's problems can be attributed to aid. It is, in my view, something of a sideshow. Because it lends itself to a simple morality story of guilt and reparation, it receives more attention than is warranted.

Paul Collier is author of the award-winning book The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, which is widely viewed, along with Jeffrey Sachs's The End of Poverty and William Easterly's The White Man's Burden, as one of the most prominent works on the foreign aid debate.  His most recent book, entitled "Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places", was published in March 2009.

Mr. Collier is a professor of Economics at Oxford University. He is also director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics, a professorial fellow at St. Anthony’s College, a professor associate at CERDI (Centre for Studies and Research in International Development) at l’Université d'Auvergne; and a Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London, England.

Mr. Collier’s research focuses on a wide range of macroeconomic, microeconomic and political economy topics concerned with Africa. Specifically, he researches the causes and consequences of civil war; the effects of aid; and the problems of democracy in low income and natural resource-rich societies.

Mr. Collier has also served as senior advisor to Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa, has addressed the General Assembly of the UN, given a seminar at 10 Downing St., and been invited to meet with Condoleezza Rice on her recent UK visit.

Mr Collier completed the first-ever external review of International Monetary Fund (IMF) operations for the Board of the IMF. From 1998 to 2003 he was director of the development research group at the World Bank.

His work in microeconomics has focused on labour and financial markets, and on rural development, on which he has written three books and many articles. Within political economy, he has worked on the process of policy reform, and has also published a series of articles on `restraining the state'. He is a Professor Associate of CERDI, Université d'Auvergne; Fellow of the CEPR, London; and was Director of the Development Research group at the World Bank (from April 1998 to April 2003).

He holds a distinction award from Oxford University, and is a past winner of the Edgar Graham Book Prize, which is awarded every two years for published work of original scholarship concerning agriculture or industrial development in Africa or Asia.