Olly Owen


Olly Owen is an anthropologist with a strong interest in political economy, particularly the workings of state institutions. His consultancy portfolio centres on governance work and institutional change in Nigeria. He is a Lecturer in African Studies and Anthropology at St Anne’s College, Oxford. With an academic background in social anthropology (Cambridge University) and African politics (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), he has specialised in the West Africa sub-region. Following three years as sub-Saharan Africa risk analyst for Global Insight (now IHS) in London, he relocated to Nigeria and worked as a journalist and development consultant. From 2007-2011 he researched and wrote a fieldwork-based doctoral thesis on the Nigerian Police Force at Oxford University’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology before being awarded a two-year Research fellowship in International Development. Concurrently, he worked on consultancies for private, public and third-sector bodies such as Control Risks, Transparency International, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Ekiti State Government, Nigeria. From 2015 to 2018 he was ESRC Future Research Leaders fellow at Oxford Department of International Development, engaged in a three-year research project looking at tax reforms and changing ideas of social contract in Nigeria. He is also the Research Director of the Nigeria Tax Research Network, supported by the Gates Foundation.