Short Profile

Dr. Joseph Onjala, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). He holds PhD in Environmental Economics from Roskilde University (Denmark). He currently teaches postgraduate courses on Environment and Natural Resources Management and Energy Policy & Planning Methods at IDS. He also teaches PhD classes in Development Economics at the School of Economics (University of Nairobi)  and a visiting fellow at the African Economic Research Consortium Collaborative PhD Programme (CPP) JFE.



Onjala, J.  2016.  Chinese Direct Investments in Africa: Motivations and Environmental Implications. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Volume XVII(Number 1):91-102.
Onjala, J, K’Akumu O.  2016.  Relational patterns of Urbanization and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Development Southern Africa. Vol. 33(Issue 2)


Otele, O, Onjala J.  2015.  China’s African Economic Policy: An Overview and Assessment, August 8-9, 2015. The Conference on China-Africa Cooperation on Human Resources in the Sector of Mineral Resources . , Yunnan University, Kunming
Onjala, J.  2015.  Sustainable Development Goals: Implications for Urban Planning in Kenya, 9 November 2015. Conference on Sustainable Development and Management, United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD).. , AICAD Nairobi
Onjala, J.  2015.  Local Economic Development and Regional Planning in Poverty Reduction at County Levels in Kenya, 12 November 2015. Conference on Sustainable Development and Management, United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD).. , AICAD Nairobi
Onjala, J.  2015.  The Chinese Factor in Africa’s Urban Infrastructure Development: Lessons from Nairobi and Kisumu Cities in Kenya, 24 October 2015. 2015 International Conference on Chinese and African Sustainable Urbanization. , University of Ottawa Canada
Onjala, J, Otele O.  2015.  The Emerging Dominance of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Kenya’s Mineral Resources Windfalls, August 8-9, 2015. The Conference on China-Africa Cooperation on Human Resources Training in the Sector of Mineral Resources . , Yunnan University Kunming, China
Onjala, J.  2015.  Deepening China - Africa Cooperation: Implementation Mechanisms and Financing Options for three Networks and Industrialization in Kenya, 29 October 2015. China-Africa Cooperation on Three Networks of Africa’s Infrastructure and Industrialization - AERC. , Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi


Onjala, J, Ndiritu SW, Stage J.  2014.  Risk perception, choice of drinking water and water treatment: evidence from Kenyan Towns. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. 04(2):268-280.


Onjala, J.  2013.  Transport Infrastructure Integration in Eastern Africa: Security Implications for the Indian Ocean Rim Partners, 24 October 2013. Paper presented to an International Conference on “54 Countries One Union: Integrations and Infrastructures” Co-organized by the Institute of West Asian and African Studies (IWAAS) under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China; the Foundation for Wo. , Beijing China
Onjala, J.  2013.  Constructing Chinese and African Soft Power: Upgrading Kenya’s Trading engagements within Sino-Africa Relations, 22 October 2013. Paper presented to an International Conference for “The Third China Africa Think Tank Forum (CATTF III)” on the theme “Upgrading Sino-African Relations and Constructing Chinese and African Soft Power”. Co -organised by the Institute of African Studies on . , Beijing China
Onjala, J.  2013.  Policies towards Strengthening Cities as Engines of National Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, 27-28 November 2. Paper presented to an International Conference organised by UNCRD and UN-HABITA Forum for Mayors and Senior Urban Officials on Sustainable Urban Development and Management in Africa. UN Complex, Nairobi-Kenya 27-28 November 2013. , UNEP, Gigiri Kenya
Onjala, J, Ndiritu S, Stage J.  2013.  Risk Perception, Choice of Drinking Water, and Water Treatment. Environment for Development Discussion Paper Series EfD DP 13-10 July 2013. , Gothenborg Sweden: Environment for Developmentwater_risk_perception2013.pdf
Onjala, J.  2013.  An Evaluation of the Implementation of the African Development Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy in Africa, August 2013. :40., Nairobi: Gibbs International, African Development Bank (AfDB)
Onjala, J.  2013.  Economic Evaluation of Roads Infrastructure Projects in Galkaiyo, Somaliland, March 2013. :90., Nairobi: International Labour Organization (ILO) Somalia Programme
Onjala, J.  2013.  Great Continental Shift: Staggering Change in Chinese Investment in Africa from Public to Private Sector, January 18-24. China Daily-Africa Weekly. :7.
Onjala, J.  2013.   “Merchandize Trading between Kenya and China: Implications for East African Community (EAC)”. in Adem Seifuden (ed) “China’s Diplomacy in East and Central Africa”. , England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. England


Onjala, J, Odero K.  2012.  Establishment & Operation of Garowe Fish Market in Puntland: Options for the Type and Structure of PPP, September 2012. :60., Nairobi: International Labour Organization (ILO) Somalia Programme
Onjala, J.  2012.  Natural Resource Discoveries: Whither East African Infrastructure?, November 15 – 18 The Indian Ocean Rim as a New Frontier: How prepared is Africa?. , Mombasa, Kenya
Onjala, J, Wagura S.  2012.  Risk Perception, Choice of Drinking Water and Water Treatment: Evidence from Kenyan towns, 30th June 2012. The 19th Annual Conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. , Prague, Czech Republic.
Onjala, J, Tuju M.  2012.  “Kenya’s Implementation of the 5th FOCAC Plan of Action: Hollow Commitments and Lack of In-Country Support”. . In Shikwati James –ed (2012). China-Africa Partnership: The quest for a win-win relationship.. , Nairobi: Inter Region Economic Network (IREN Kenya)
Onjala, J.  2012.  “The Experience of Chinese Support for Infrastructure: How Relevant is it for Kenya?” Shikwati James (ed) China-Africa Partnership: The quest for a win-win relationship. . , Nairobi: Inter Region Economic Network (IREN Kenya)


Onjala, J, Odero K.  2011.  Viability Assessment and Tariff Rate Structure for The Sheikh Water System in Somaliland., October 2011. :60., Nairobi: International Labour Organization (ILO) Somalia Programme
Onjala, J, Jama M, Oloko M.  2011.  Introduction. in Central Kenya Dry Areas Smallholder and Community Services Project (CKDAP). Taming Scarce Resources for Smallholder Livelihoods in the Dry Areas of Central Kenya. , Nairobi: Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Kenya


Onjala, J.  2010.  Change Evaluation by TWAWEZA. : workshop organised by University of Massachusetts in Dar-es-Salaam-Tanzania. Abstract
Onjala, J.  2010.  The Relevance of China. : International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) in Beijing-China Abstract
Onjala, J.  2010.  Globalization and the Urban Development: Towards trilateral Exchange and Cooperation between Africa, China and Europe. : Organised by GTZ and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Shanghai-China. Abstract
Onjala, J.  2010.  Impacts of China. : UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Economic Research Consortium in Addis Ababa - Ethiopia. Abstract
Onjala, J, Atieno R, Jama M.  2010.  Report on the Status of Pastoralists. , Nairobi: Institute for Development Studies
Atieno, R, Onjala J, Jama M.  2010.  Do think tanks benefit from APRM work? Kenya’s Experience in Gruzd Steven (ed) Grappling with Governance: Perspectives on the African Peer Review Mechanism. , Johannesburg: Jacana Media (Pty) and South African Institute of International Studies


Onjala, J.  2009.  Water Credit Viability Assessment in the Mara River Basin- Bomet and Narok South Districts, Kenya, August 2009. :40., Nairobi: Water Partners International/Water Org
Onjala, J, Cook J.  2009.  Microfinance in the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in Kenya, May 2009. :34., Washington DC: Global Water Challengemfinancewater.pdf
Onjala, J.  2009.  “China’s Comparative Trade, Aid and Investment Behaviour in Kenya vis-a-viz India and the European Union (EU)”. in Stephen Marks (ed) Strengthening the Civil Society Perspective: China’s African Impact. . , Cape Town: Fahamu Networks for Social Justice


Marcus, Richard R; Onjala, J.  2008.  Exit the State: Decentralization and the Need for Local Social, Political, and Economic Considerations in Water Resource Allocation in Madagascar and Kenya1 . AbstractWebsite

This paper focuses on the iconoclasticism of water as a plentiful resource and the near universalization of decentralizing institutions to manage it. The authors explore two agro‐pastoral regions — Ambovombe District (Madagascar) and Tana River District (Kenya) — and consider institutional change, particularly the disengaging state, the lack of fiscal and administrative support throughout decentralization, community responses, and informal private markets. This paper concludes that decentralization holds the potential to increase accountability of the resource management process, improve governance and leadership accountability, and maximize the resource in a sustainable fashion. However, what we are seeing instead through the process of decentralization are the states exiting from the water governance process too rapidly and without concern for the culturally embedded social and economic norms, and the growing gap between new institutions and the needs, desires, and capacity of participants in the new systems.

Onjala, J, Atieno R, Jama M.  2008.  Do Think Tanks Benefit from APRM Work? Kenya’s Experience
Onjala, J, Dorothy MC.  2008.  “Methodology for Value Chain Analysis in ICT Industry: Frameworks for the Study of Africa”. , Nairobi: African Economic Research Consortium

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