Aklilu Fikresilassie

Director, Thriving Resilient Cities, WRI Africa; Representative of WRI in Ethiopia


Aklilu Fikresilassie is the Director of Thriving Resilient Cities at WRI Africa and Representative of WRI in Ethiopia.

Aklilu has more than 16 years of professional leadership and technical experience in the field of Urban Development and Management as well as in managing non-governmental programmes. Prior to joining WRI, Aklilu spent 7 years at United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) as a Programme Manager, representing the agency in Ethiopia. While working with UN-Habitat, Aklilu successfully represented the agency in the United Nations Country Team and played a key role in positioning the urban agenda in the UN joint plans/programs (UNDAF/UNSDCF) and supporting the Ethiopian Government’s endeavor towards sustainable urbanization through provision of technical support and implementation of several projects. He also worked with UNDP in South Sudan as Planning Specialist and team leader. Further, Aklilu led the bureau of Finance and Economic Development, managing government, bilateral and multilateral programmes.

In addition to his managerial and technical support role, Aklilu is a researcher on thematic areas such as Urbanization, Environment and common pool resources. He contributed to studies of the UN-Habitat in Ethiopia and a chapter on the Oxford Handbook of Industrial Hubs and Economic Development.

Aklilu is a qualified Urban and Development planning, monitoring and evaluation specialist with a Master of Arts degree in Urban Management and Development (specialization: Urban and Regional development strategies) from Erasmus University, the Netherlands (2006), and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Addis Ababa (2001). Currently he is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. Aklilu’s research focuses on Decentralized Urban Governance and its effect on environmental management. His study explores the trends and management of urbanization in Ethiopia and its effect on the environmental governance and assesses the applicability of decentralized urban management in the case of managing the commons.

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