About Me

Dr. Fred P.M. van der Kraaij

Dr. Fred P.M. van der Kraaij

Dr. Fred van der Kraaij (1946) is a Dutch economist. He specialised in the economics of African countries. He obtained a PhD in economics from the University of Tilburg (cum laude, 1983).
Fred van der Kraaij taught at the University of Liberia in the 1970s and  lived in West Africa for over 16 years. He was 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 in West Africa 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 Liberia’ (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).

Since 2019 he contributes yearly to Routledge’s Yearbook on Africa South of the Sahara with two essays on Liberia. Latest publication: ‘Liberia – Recent History’ and ‘Liberia – Economy’, in: ‘Africa South of the Sahara 2024‘ (53rd edition, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York, 2023).

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.

He twitters as @liberiapp on the political economy of African countries, human rights and the rule of law, notably in Africa’s oldest republic Liberia and as @FredVDKraaij focusing on the Western Sahel.