Fred van der Kraaij

Fred van der Kraaij is an author, evaluator and researcher specialized in the political economy of African countries with professional experience in Sub-Saharan Africa since 1972. He holds a PhD in Economics (cum laude) from Tilburg University. His professional career covers some 40 years of which 20 years abroad - mostly in West Africa - and 20 years at the Netherlands’ MFA as an evaluator in the ministry’s independent evaluation unit.  
In Liberia Fred van der Kraaij taught at the University of Liberia, did his PhD research on the impact of FDI on the Liberian economy and was a part-time advisor at the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia. In the Sahel he served in rural development projects covering a wide range of areas (agriculture, health, micro-financing) and in various project phases - identification, planning, implementation and monitoring - in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. Fred van der Kraaij also evaluated project aid (Burkina Faso, Mali, Tanzania) and program aid including structural adjustment programs (Ghana, Uganda) and debt relief (Nigeria, DCR). Around the turn of the millennium he was based in Washington D.C, working for an informal platform for policy dialogue, the Global Coalition for Africa, in various African countries.     
After retiring (2011) Fred van der Kraaij focused on research, writing and his hobbies including map-collecting. He wrote two books on Liberia and various articles. Since 2019 he contributes yearly to Routledge’s Yearbook Africa South of the Sahara with essays on Liberia. At present he works on a book on the Western Sahel, a region which he first explored in 1972 before residing in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal for more than a decade. 
His current research focuses on: The political and economic history of Liberia; Superstition, witchcraft and ritualistic murders in Africa; The role of the Netherlands in the trans-Atlantic slave trade; and Black images and stereotypes in 20th century Dutch children literature. 
In 2017 Fred van der Kraaij donated nearly 1,500 photographs to the African Studies Centre Leiden and Wikimedia Commons. The collection comprises slides taken by him in 11 countries in North and West Africa (1972-1987). The upload process including a detailed description of each image by the photographer was completed in 2022.