Dr. Joe Abah is the Country Director of DAI. DAI is an international development company that works with a wide range of clients, including national and local governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, private corporations, and philanthropies in over 100 countries.
Before joining DAI in September 2017, Joe was the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in Nigeria. Under his leadership, he emphasized the need for public service reforms to focus on tangible improvements in the lives of citizens, not just administrative reforms. His work as Director-General led to improvements in the processing of drivers’ licenses, international passports, tax clearance certificates, and national identity management.
Joe is a strong champion for electronic government. As DG of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, he led the development of a web-based performance assessment tool for government agencies that won a Pan African Award for Innovation. He also put in place Nigeria’s first electronic Freedom of Information portal. This saw the response time for responding to Freedom of Information requests come down from up to 7 days to less than 2 minutes. He also led the institutional reforms of dozens of agencies and parastatals.
Before his appointment as Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in 2013, Joe led several programs for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria. Some of the interventions he led include the privatization of waste management in the Federal Capital Territory, the reform of the FCT Water Board and the creation of the Abuja Enterprise Agency that has empowered 73,000 Nigerians to start businesses, 90% of which are youth. He also supported the development of the Nigerian Governors Forum’s State Peer Review Mechanism, believed to be the first subnational peer review process in the world.
Prior to returning to Nigeria in 2003, he worked in various public sector organizations in the UK, including the Prime Minister’s Office of Public Service Reforms. Joe is an internationally recognized expert in governance and institutional reforms, political economy analysis, and change management. He is also a prolific writer and blogger.
Joe is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He holds a Ph.D. in Governance and Public Policy Analysis from the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, where he currently serves as a Visiting Lecturer. His academic interest is how organizations in dysfunctional environments can overcome daunting institutional constraints and still function for the benefit of citizens.