Fitsum is an economist and social scientist focused on sustainable human development effects of economic activities including those related to extractive resources, infrastructure, and industrial development. He is internationally recognised for his work on the potential for resource-rich countries to utilise the inter-sectoral linkages with the extractive sector for economic transformation, and the role of policy makers and industry actors in achieving it. He is particularly passionate about harmonizing the interplay between state intervention and market dynamics, and optimizing the opportunities related to the interface between extractive minerals and the transition to clean energy for harnessing sustainable energy solutions.


Researcher biography

Having started his career in economics and finance in government and banking sector, Fitsum applied his development economics and political science training in his role as researcher with the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at SMI between 2011 and 2016. In this role, he conducted applied research on fiscal and non-fiscal contribution of large-scale mining, impact of extractives on political settlements and conflict, mining and sub-regional development, engaging the private sector for inclusive extractive industries, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and formalisation efforts, extractive industries transparency and governance, social license in technology design, resettlement and livelihoods, and social aspects of mine closure. He has also delivered capacity building programs to practitioners, policy makers and key stakeholder groups from several countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Topics included connecting mining to human development outcomes, managing the social and environmental impacts of mining, community research methods, and resource governance.

Fitsum then took the role of Senior Researcher with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London from 2016 to 2019. In this role, he led ASM action dialogue programmes, overseeing research to support the national dialogues in Tanzania, Ghana and Madagascar. He also led and conducted a series of research activities to inform decisions by more than 60 member countries of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (IGF).

More recently, Fitsum worked as an independent senior research consultant; and Senior Social Specialist for GHD in Australia. In addition to applied and academic research and capacity building experience, he has delivered presentations and guest speaking in numerous global conferences and workshops.