Professor Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson

International Development Department
Professor of African Politics

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Paul Jackson is a political economist working predominantly on conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. A core area of interest is decentralisation and governance and it was his extensive experience in Sierra Leone immediately following the war that led him into the area of conflict analysis and security sector reform.

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  • PhD Public Policy (Birmingham)
  • MSc Information Management (UCE)
  • MA Development Studies (East Anglia)
  • BA Economics and Politics (York)


Paul Jackson is a political economist working predominantly on conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. A core area of interest is decentralisation and governance and it was his extensive experience in Sierra Leone immediately following the war that led him into the area of conflict analysis and security sector reform. He is currently Director of the GFN-SSR which engages him in wide ranging policy discussion with donor agencies engaged in these activities, including various European Governments, the EU, the UN and the World Bank as well as the UK Government.

In addition Paul was also Head of the School of Government and Society till July 2010 where managed five academic departments and some 200 staff across political science and international studies, local government studies, sociology, Russian and European studies and international development.

Paul also works in several overseas locations including Rwanda, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Butan, India and China amongst others, and is an experienced aid evaluator as well as governance and conflict analyst.


Programme director of the MSc International Development (Conflict, Security and Development), with additional teaching at Undergraduate level on War Torn States.

Director of the Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform (GFN-SSR)


Research interests

The basic question I am interested in is the creation, destruction and reconstruction of states, particularly in Africa. The focus of a lot of my current work has been on the following:

  1. The nature of the liberal state and the politics of liberal state-building in post-conflict situations.
  2. Security sector reform and the relationship between security and development.
  3. External intervention in security issues, particularly US security policy towards Africa and AFRICOM.
  4. Governance and security.

I also have a history of working on public administration and the relationships between public and private sectors

Current and recent projects

Saving Humans: Risk, Intervention, Survival
'Saving Humans' is an innovative and timely theme which consolidates existing University research agendas, provides opportunities for creating novel and exciting partnerships, transcends divides between arts, social sciences and natural sciences and, most importantly, addresses broader issues of social, political and moral concern for humanity’s future.
Theme Leaders: Professor Heather WiddowsProfessor Paul Jackson and Professor Nick Wheeler.

  • Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform (GFN-SSR) (Director, ongoing)
  • Sierra Leone Intervention (Various projects including writing up UK experience in intervening in Sierra Leone)
  • Decentralisation and conflict (Sierra Leone, Northern Uganda)
  • Sierra Leone decentralisation
  • Ghana evaluation methodology
  • Bhutan decentralisation
  • Role of Government in Adjusting Economies

Other activities

Membership of Professional Organisations

  • Higher Education Academy (originally ILT)
  • Registered practitioner with the HEA and also an assessor for the Certificate in teaching and Learning taken by all new staff within the University of Birmingham.
  • Political Studies Association, British International Studies Association, African Studies Association and Royal African Society, American Political Science Association membership

Other professional roles

  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA). Fellowship elected on the basis of my academic management role as an educator in public policy.
  • Member of the Advisory Board for the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, discussing international security policy and civilian control over security apparatus’ internationally. This involves taking an editorial role in preparing the DCAF annual volume and also having an input into professional workshops and related organisations.
  • Co-chair of the international organisation of trainers in security sector reform (ASSET) and a peer reviewer of all related courses designed to train government officials undertaking security related activities overseas. This encompasses the UK, Netherlands, EU, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and others.
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Security and Diplomacy, providing advice on the running of the Centre, activities, finance and management.
  • Member of the African Security Sector Network, as an independent adviser, reviewing and editing, advice on funding and review.


Jackson, P (2009) ‘'Negotiating with ghosts’: Religion, conflict and peace in Northern Uganda’, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Issue 402, June 2009. Pp.319-332

Jackson, P (2009) ‘Mars, Venus or Mercury: AFRICOM and America’s Ambiguous Intentions’, Contemporary Security Policy, Volume 30, Issue 1, April 2009, Pp. 1-4.

Jackson, P (2009) ‘Mission and Pragmatism in US security policy in Africa’, Contemporary Security Policy, Volume 30, Issue 1, April 2009. Pp. 45-49.

Jackson, P (2007) ‘Reshuffling the deck? The politics of decentralisation in Sierra Leone’, African Affairs, January 2007, 106: 95-111

African Affairs is the premier journal on African and is the journal of the Royal African Society and African Studies Association. This is a high prestige article that has led to further research funding, along with article 4, below.

Jackson, P (2007) ‘Are Africa’s wars part of a fourth generation of warfare?’ Contemporary Security Policy, August 2007, 28 (2): 267-285

This article is one of a series of three articles being published during 2007 on the links between African conflicts and theories of warfare. CSP is the leading Journal in this field and is published in the US, so has a global impact. The editor described my piece as ‘an important theoretical contribution to bringing Africa back in to debates about war’.

Jackson, P (2005) ‘Chiefs, Money and Politicians: Rebuilding Local Government in Sierra Leone’, Public Administration and Development, 25, 2005. Pp.49-58

PAD is a high-impact journal and is in the top rank of journals in development. It is the main journal dealing with public administration. This article is in the top 50 downloaded articles of the journal between January 04 and August 06.

Jackson, P (2002) Business Development in Asia and Africa, Palgrave (2002)

This book remains the only comprehensive study of business development agencies in Africa and Asia and their influence on economic development. The book was described by DFID’s head of industrial development as ‘the most useful book in the field’