Alexander O’Riordan

Associate faculty

Humanitarian Studies

Alexander O’Riordan has over twenty years of international development experience with specializations in political economy analysis, country strategies, multi-donor initiatives, transaction costs, division of labour and development effectiveness. He currently provides development partner country offices and headquarters with programming strategy advice (including on improving implementation efficiencies/reducing transaction and implementation costs), political economy and policy analysis. O’Riordan also has extensive experience with applied political economy analysis (PEA) at a senior level with other international actors. He was the team leader for both a four-country applied PEA on fiscal space for UNICEF and for a political economy analysis on public sector reform for the UK government. He was a senior analyst on PEA for USAID on HIV/AIDS and for the EU on agricultural modernisation. His doctoral research was on the political economy of donor allocations of development assistance for which the Open Society Foundation funded a portion of the research on South Africa as an emerging development partner and the political economy incentives it was responding to in Mozambique. O’Riordan also completed a year of doctoral level course work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Since 2009, O’Riordan has been working as an independent consultant mainly on long-term assignments for the EU, USAID, UNDP, UNICEF, DANIDA and governance civil society organizations like Pact and IDASA. O’Riordan has also worked as an advisor to ministries of finance in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos and South Africa. Prior to that he worked for UNDP in Bulgaria and the EU Delegations to South Africa, Kenya and Jamaica. He is also a research associate at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and associate faculty with Royal Roads University. O’Riordan has experience working in more than twenty countries globally covering Eastern and Southern Africa, the Horn, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the Caucuses, South and South East Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean.



PhD in Economics

University of Cape Town

Master of Social Science

University of Natal-Durban (now called UKZN)

Bachelor of Social Science

University of Natal-Durban (now called UKZN)