Dr. Fred van der Kraaij (1946) is a Dutch economist. He specialised in the economics of African countries. He obtained a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Tilburg (with honors, 1983).
Taught at the University of Liberia in the 1970s. Lived in West Africa for over 16 years. Previously employed by the Government of Liberia, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Bank.
After a twenty-year career abroad he worked twenty years with the ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague where he was a senior evaluator in the ministry’s independent evaluation department (1991-2011).
He worked in 15 African countries and lived in four: Liberia (1975-1980), Burkina Faso then called Upper Volta, (1980-1984), Mali (1984-1987) and Senegal (1987-1991). It is interesting to note that he experienced four military coups d’état, one failed coup, a border war, and serious civil unrest. He retired in 2011.
His books include ‘Liberia’s Open Door Policy. An Economic History of Modern Libera’ (Uebersee Museum Bremen, 1983), ‘Structural Adjustment and Beyond in Sub-Saharan Africa. Policy and Research Issues’ (with Rolph van der Hoeven, eds., Currey/Heinemann, 1994), ‘L’ajustement structurel et au-delà en Afrique subsaharienne. Thèmes de recherche et thèmes politiques’ (with Rolph van der Hoeven, eds., Karthala, 1995), ‘Liberia: van vrijheidsideaal naar verloren paradijs’ (African Studies Centre Leiden, 2013) and ‘Liberia: From The Love of Liberty to Paradise Lost’ (African Studies Centre Leiden, 2015).
He contributes yearly to Routledge’s Yearbook on Africa South of the Sahara with articles on Liberia. Latest publication: ‘Liberia – Recent History’ and ‘Liberia – Economy’, in: ‘Africa South of the Sahara 2023‘ (51st edition, Routledge, Taylor & Francis group, London and New York, 2021).
He maintains the website ‘Liberia: Past and Present of Africa’s Oldest Republic‘ which he started in 2002. For technical reasons, the original site became ‘Archives of Liberia Past and Present’ as from March 20, 2022.