Richmond Atta-Ankomah

Research Associate

Dr. Richmond Atta-Ankomah is a Research Fellow in Development Policy and Practice Unit in the Open University. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics from the University of Ghana in 2004 and 2007 respectively and a PhD from the Open University, UK in 2014. Richmond has a research background in socioeconomic and industrial development issues, spanning areas such as health, poverty, and manufacturing (furniture, pharmaceuticals, and energy/oil sectors).

Before joining the Open University for his PhD studies, Richmond worked as a researcher in a social science research institute in the University of Ghana, taught in a private university in Ghana as a part-time lecturer and also worked for a research consulting firm. He also worked on consultancy basis for several organisations in Ghana including the United Nations Development Program (Ghana Office) and Oxfam. 

Currently, Richmond’s academic and research interests are focused on economics of innovation, technology and development as well as global value chains and the development impact of international trade and investment, particularly trade and investment issues between Asian Drivers and lagging developing economies, especially those of sub-Saharan Africa. His PhD thesis titled, “Chinese Presence in Developing Countries’ Technology Basket: The Case of Furniture Manufacturing in Kenya”, studied technology transfer from China to sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and its implications for pro-poor industrial and inclusive development in SSA countries. Richmond is currently working with Professor Giles Mohan on a research project which seeks to examine the economic development implications of Chinese national oil companies’ engagement in Africa’s oil sector. 

Are Asian Driver capital goods pro-poor?

This project currently supports three PhD students who are researching the question of whether Chinese (and Indian) capital goods provide an opportunity to improve pro-poor innovation in East Africa. Specifically the students are researching: tractors in Tanzania; wood and metal working tools in Kenya and; textile machinery in Uganda.

Innovations for Pro-Poor Growth

A burgeoning area of interest for DPP members is the issue of how innovative activity can promote and support entrepreneurship in order to raise the income, welfare and agency of the poorest in society.  Initial ideas for the project and its conceptual base are available at This project currently supports three PhD students who are l...

Blog post: From “Jua Kali” to Toiling in the Mud by Richmond Atta-Ankomah

In this blog report, Richmond Atta-Ankomah reports on the daily struggle of traders in a busy market place in Kenya

Blog post: Mobile Discos in Nairobi by Richmond Atta-Ankomah

In this blog, Richmond Atta-Ankomah writes about an innovation in transport in Nairobi

Chinese NOCs in Africa

Chinese National Oil Companies (NCOs) and the Economic Development of African Oil Producers

This ESRC funded project is the first to systematically assess whether and how development benefits may be accruing for Africa from this form of engagement with China. 

For more info check the project flyer. 




Informality as a Continuum: Evidence from Four Furniture Manufacturing Clusters in Kenya

Informality as a Continuum: Evidence from Four Furniture Manufacturing Clusters in Kenya

Currently, firms tend to be classified as belonging to the formal or informal sector. Using evidence from furniture manufacturing firms in Kenya, Richmond Atta-Ankomah argues that the informal sector is inherently heterogeneous and informality is best described as a continuum.