Dr. Zenebe Uraguchi


Dr. Zenebe Uraguchi Dozent Intern. agricultural economics

  • Contact hours Monday
  • Address Berner Fachhochschule
    School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
    Fachbereich Agronomie
    Länggasse 85
    3052 Zollikofen


  • May 2023 – to date: Prof. of Development Economics, Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, International Agriculture (HALF)

  • Teach economics and supervise research projects for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as provide courses to PhD students in the Business School's Winter PhD program at Bern University of Applied Sciences.

  • Develop and oversee international applied research projects and mandates using an inclusive systems approach, secure outside funding, and supervise a research team made up of PhD researchers and Scientific Collaborators

  • Collaborate with other universities in Switzerland as well as in Europe, Asia, and Africa to provide lectures and conduct seminars on economic development

  • Strengthen the expertise of the department and increase its visibility through publications and presentations, as well as in the application of inclusive systems approach.

  • Provide strategic and technical advice to national, regional, and international development organizations as well as private and government sector actors in the areas of inclusive and sustainable economic investments.

  • Serve as a member of the Research Commission Board of Bern University of Applied Sciences, contributing to research policy design and setting strategic goals.


  • Working in development contexts

  • (Rural) Development in Practice

  • Income Generation and Markets in Developing and Transition Countries

  • Project Planning and Management

  • How Do We Feed 9 Billion People

  • Understanding and Measuring Impact


  • Institutional Economics: the impact of institutions on economy, how institutions evolve, and how they could be improved

  • Economic and Financial Analysis (EFA): value for money, efficiency of investments

  • Behavioral Economics mainly focusing on household economics (women, youth)

  • Economic and Financial Analysis (EFA)

  • Systems Thinking and Development

  • Institutional Economics: Why do some countries thrive while others remain poor? Do markets require regulation to function efficiently? If markets provide an efficient means of transferring things, why do individuals establish enterprises? How are economic transactions conducted in the absence of a state capable of enforcing contracts and protecting property rights? Such and other questions about the organization and functioning of societies are the focus of Institutional Economics. I am keen to analyze and understand – focusing on a range of sectors from agriculture to technology/business process outsourcing, tourism, and others – the role of institutions (private, public, and civil society as well as the rules and norms thereof) in society in a systematic and structured way; the impacts of imperfect information, bounded rationality, and transaction costs; the application of institutional economics to a range of issues concerning economic exchange, the organization of economic activities and the behavior of economic actors.

  • Economic and Financial Analysis (EFA): Are you unsure whether a particular decision is the best one for your research, project, business, or public investment? Are you questioning if your decision will be worth the effort and resources to make it a success or impactful? Are you considering making a change to your research, project, business, or public investment, knowing that it might have consequences/impacts? In EFA, I am interested in (a) the estimated/projected benefits and costs of investments or projects; (b) the worthiness of investments or projects by providing indications/options of the merits (benefits > costs) of investing in a decision; (c) comparison of present and future values (benefits/costs) over time; (d) quantitative analysis of the value of investments or projects; and (e) understanding impacts of a decision on social and environmental aspects (externalities). Project topics can include both ex-ante and ex-post (evaluations) using different methods: cost-benefit, Difference-in-Difference (DID), Randomized Control Trials (RTCs), quasi-experimental design, or others (sense-making, the most significant change – MSC).

  • Behavioral Economics: As a complement or contrast to Institutional Economics, I am also interested in using/applying behavioral economics. Here I try to combine economics and psychology to understand how and why people behave the way they do in the real world. Such an approach differs from neoclassical economics, which assumes that most people have well-defined preferences and make well-informed, self-interested decisions based on those preferences. I take the household and/or individual members as the unit of analysis to understand structures, behavior, and their wider effect on society, including labor (employment), income generation, spending, and allocation of time. Research topics include priorities and aspirations of youth in food systems; the changing nature of the world of work; norms and values of parents in shaping the preferences of children in economic activities; migration decisions, the integration of immigrants into the labor market and society and their economic behavior; and others.

  • Economic Policy Analysis: My research specifically focuses on agricultural policy measures. Why has it taken countries for long to agree on agriculture despite extensive efforts by WTO to provide a framework for the long-term reform of agricultural trade and domestic policies? Why are farmers across the world protesting against policy measures of governments in agriculture? How can policy measures contribute to navigating different options and enable societies to address economic, food, and environmental goals? I am interested in (a) internalizing the historical background and shift of agricultural policy instruments; (b) understanding key concepts and processes, and their application across different countries (developing economies, transitional economies, and developed economies) in agricultural policy formulation and implementation; (c) explaining and applying direct and indirect instruments of agricultural policy. Possible topics include (a) a comparative analysis of the types of agricultural policies (direct interventions e.g., tariffs, or indirect interventions e.g., exchange rate); (b) practical cases of the focus of agricultural policy measures (aiming at farmers, consumers, and/or private sector actors) and their implications to food/nutritional security, economic development, and the green transition; (c) the scope of agricultural policy measures (general objective e.g., natural resources, specific aim e.g., performance, or policy goal e.g., privatization); and (d) alignment/contradictions of agricultural policy measures in terms of balancing policies with strategies and constraints (e.g., competition vs subsidies).

  • Systems Thinking and Development: Systems thinking is all about ensuring inclusive, sustainable, and scalable impacts. Yet for a long time, unsustainable and islands of successes have occurred in designing, financing, and implementing development initiatives. We hear time and again questions like: is what we do really effective? How sustainable is the change that development agencies make? And how many people does our work really affect? Are we really addressing the root causes of underperformance or just the symptoms? These are legitimate questions but there are few credible answers and thoughts on the effectiveness of development investments or initiatives. As a long-time advocate of systems thinking, my interest is approaching the challenge of development by synthesizing good development practices into principles and frameworks that can guide investments, projects, or other initiatives as well as the organizations facilitating them toward achieving aid effectiveness. In other words, systems thinking attempts to (re)define the role of organizations or institutions by shifting their roles from doing things by themselves to facilitating solutions to problems that individuals, communities, enterprises, and governments encounter. I am keen on collaborating, providing my “lived experience”, and learning from others (and bringing back the learning to teach students who are our future). My focus is the shift in thinking by asking key questions such as Why aren't different systems in agriculture, health, education, and infrastructure… providing solutions to development challenges – from unemployment to food insecurity, poor access to services like health and education, gender disparity, environmental degradation, etc.? The approach is strategic and helps us think about such and similar questions in the context of development investments, projects, and initiatives. It doesn't give us the answers, but rather frameworks that make critical questions more explicit and help to structure our discourse on effectiveness.


  • I’m currently Prof. of Development Economics and Head of the HAFL Hugo P. Cecchini Institute at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH). In this capacity, I teach, manage, conduct research and evaluations and provide strategic advice/support on inclusive, sustainable, and scalable development.

    Prior to entering academia, I held senior roles in international development organizations and private-sector businesses. I've worked in over 20 countries in various roles and for different lengths of time. I bring "lived experience" to strengthen frameworks/concepts and practices.


    Analytical & critical skills: I bring to the work I do reasoned judgments that are logical and well thought out.

    Systems thinking: I apply systems approach to understand better and find solutions to the products, processes, and projects that I work on which are increasingly complex and interrelated (sub)systems.

    Facilitation techniques: I contribute to improve how organizations and people work together or individually to identify and solve problems, learn, make decisions, and handle conflict. I employ problem-based learning approach in my teaching.

    Adaptive management: I have the experience of managing complex and large projects in dynamic contexts, diverse teams, and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

    Monitoring, learning, and evaluation: I have worked across different countries and themes to contribute to what works and what doesn’t and why.


    To contribute to the advancement of knowledge and practice in development economics, as well as to mentor and learn from others.

    I communicate and share my knowledge and insights through publications, presentations, and teaching courses.

    I enjoy working with a range of partnerships, business models, and a diverse group of people to deliver results that matter. I have a strong sense of intuition but I use data to make decisions.
  • May 2023 – to date Prof. of Development Economics, Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, International Agriculture (HALF) Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, International Agriculture (HALF)
  • May 2023 – to date Director, the Hugo P. Cecchini Institute – International Cooperation and Development Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, International Agriculture (HALF)
  • July 2020 – May 2023 Program Head, the RECONOMY Program HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Bern, Switzerland
  • May 2014 – December 2019 Program Coordinator HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Bern, Switzerland
  • September 2010 – April 2014 Economist/International Advisor Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Bangladesh, Asia
  • 2001 – 2007 Senior Trade Manager, Asian Portfolio Toyota Motors Group, Japan
  • 2006-2010 Ph.D. Development Economics Graduate School of International Development; Ph.D. dissertation: “Maco-Macro Analysis of Development Finance: A Case Study of OECD and Recipient Countries”
  • 2002-2003 MA, Political Economy University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 19980-2000 MA International University of Japan



  • Mohammed, E. Y. and Zenebe Uraguchi (2020). “Conclusion: from here to where”, In Mohammed, E.Y. and Zenebe Uraguchi (eds.). Financial inclusion for poverty alleviation: Banking on the unbanked. Routledge: UK.

  • Carter, J., Z. Uraguchi, et al. (2018) “Learning about women’s empowerment in the context of development projects: do the figures tell us enough.” In Sweetman, C., and Bowman, K. Gender, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. Practical Action Publishing.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe and Essam Yassin Mohammed (2016). ‘Harnessing Market Forces for Financial Inclusivity in Marine and Coastal Conservation: Lessons from Market Systems Development Approach.’ In Peter Mackelworth (ed.). Marine Transboundary Conservation and Protected Areas. Taylor & Francis: UK.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2013) ‘Payments for Marine Ecosystem Services and Food Security: Lessons from Income Transfer Programmes’, in Mohammed, E.Y. (ed.) Economic Incentives for Marine and Coastal Conservation, Routledge Books.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe and Suresh Moktan (2013) 'From Resource Transfer Programmes to Systemic Approach to Food Security in Agrarian Societies: Issues and Economic Implications', in Munir A. Hanjra (ed.) Food Security: Quality Management, Issues, and Economic Implications, Nova Publisher, USA.

  • Mohammed, E.Y. and Uraguchi, Zenebe (2013) 'Impacts of climate change on fisheries: Implications for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa' in Munir A. Hanjra (ed.) Food Security: Quality Management, Issues, and Economic Implications, Nova Publisher, USA.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2012) ‘Rural Income Transfer Projects and Rural Household Food Security in Ethiopia’, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1.

  • Shinkai, N. and Uraguchi, Zenebe (2011). ‘Regional Cooperation for Improvement of Trade Procedures: The Case of Japan.’ In Y. Duval and Prabir De (eds.) Studies in Trade and Investment, 71, The Asian-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTeT) and the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), New York.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2011). ‘Social Protection for Redistributive Justice: Socio-economic and Political Drivers of Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Bangladesh and Ethiopia’, Centre for Social Protection, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, Brighton.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2010) ‘Food Price Hikes and Seasonal Intra-Household Coping Strategies: Assessing the Role and Vulnerability of Women in Agrarian Societies, Evidence from Bangladesh and Ethiopia’, Gender & Development, Vol. 8. November.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2010), ‘The Role of Aid in Some Aspects of Food Security: Micro Analysis,’ Forum of International Development Studies, Vol. 39, March.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2004). ‘Trajectories of Women, Environmental Degradation and Scarcity: Examining Access to and Control over Resources in Ethiopia,’ in Annan-yao, Elizabeth and Bashaw, Zenebe (eds.), Gender, Economies, and Entitlements in Africa, Gender Series No. 2.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2002), ‘Food-for-Work Programmes, the State and the Third Sector,’ in Gidron, B., Q. V. Ufford, and A. Kello (eds.) NGOs dealing with refugee resettlement in Ethiopia, NIRP Research for Policy Series 12, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam.

  • Uraguchi, Zenebe (2001), ‘NGO–Government Relations: Conflict and Co-operation in Development Management for Rehabilitation of Demobilized Soldiers: The Case of Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia,’ Africa Development, Vol. XXVI, No. 1 & 2.


Selected as one of the ten Ph.D. students from around the world to participate and present outstanding research findings at the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), which took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from June 9 to 11, 2008,

In Bachelors, two MAs degrees.

Supervised theses

  • Gerber Raphael Malick Toward Healthy Food Systems: How can regenerative agriculture drive the food system transition 2024-25

  • Copt Valentine Cécile What shapes the (dis)engagement of youth from/with agriculture? 2024-25

Language skills and intercultural knowledge

  • English - Native or bilingual proficiency
  • Japanese - Native or bilingual proficiency
  • Amharic - Native or bilingual proficiency
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia
  • India
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Moldova, Republic of
  • Montenegro
  • Philippines
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Sudan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • South Sudan