#55, Conversation with Joe Abah: governance, reforms and complexities. Country Director at DIA

Dr Joe Abah trained as a barrister in Nigeria.


Afterwards, he gained extensive experience in the governance sector, working on public sector reform programs for the U.K. Prime Minister’s Office.


He has spent more than 10 years managing governance programs in Nigeria for the U.K. Department for International Development, including on the DAI-led State Partnership for Accountability Responsiveness and Capability project.


From 2013 to 2017, Joe took a post with the Government of Nigeria as Head of the Bureau for Public Sector Reform.


He has now returned to DAI to serve as Country Director for Nigeria, where he provides technical and strategic inputs to DAI’s existing portfolio of projects, in addition to supporting business development initiatives.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

About Dr Joe Abah’s childhood growing up in FESTAC part of Lagos The dynamics of population in Nigeria. According to Dr Joe, the population of Abuja for instance defers by time of day What are the difficulties in planning for infrastructure in Nigeria? Why does Nigeria need a fundamental rethink in the societal structure? How does this directly impact our economy? The structure of the current Nigerian constitution and how it creates challenges What is Dr Joe’s political ambition for the future? Why we should or should not consider constitutional reform About Dr Joe’s ideas on achieving social cohesion in Nigeria. What are the key learnings you should know from governance in Nigeria? According to Dr Joe, “Government does a woeful job of explaining to people how things work.” What does this mean? The complexities within government. About Dr Joe’s greatest achievement in public service He is currently the country director for DIA in Nigeria. This is a $600M company. What is the biggest business pain point? And what are their growth metrics? And more

Selected links from this episode


World Bank


McKinsey & Company



Gates Foundation

Fords Foundation

Selected Book from this episode

The End of Alchemy