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Associate Professor of Fiscal Law and Policy, University of Nairobi

Attiya Waris is the current Director of Research and Enterprise and is the only Professor of Fiscal Law and Policy in Eastern Africa. She holds a PhD in Law and is a specialist in Fiscal Law, Policy and Development. She was appointed the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt, other international financial obligations, and human rights by the Human Rights Council at its 47th session, and took up the function on 1 August 2021.

She is an advocate, company secretary and arbitrator of 20 years standing. She founded the Committee on Fiscal Studies where the team spearheaded the first agreement on sharing of data between a University and a revenue agency globally, between the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Revenue Authority and actively mentors the next generation of researchers. She currently teaches at the Law School, University of Nairobi. She has previously taught in South Africa, Rwanda, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

She has researched and published on global, African, Asian, European as well as Latin American issues.She has published over 40 articles, book chapters and reports. Her book 'Tax and Development’ (2013) is the first publication globally that links the areas of tax and human rights and her more recent publication ‘Financing Africa’ (2019) is the first publication globally to map out African fiscal systems.

She has received research grants from the European Commission, GIZ, Open Society and Oxfam. She also consults for international institutions like the UN, government agencies as well as civil society organizations. Her funded research includes issues around financing rights, financing health, taxation of collective investment vehicles as well as researching issues related to the United Nations Tax Committee.

She was a nominee in 2017 for the position of UN Special Rapporteur on Development. She is the current UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and other related international financial obligations of States on Human Rights (1st August 2021-31st July 2024) and is an Observer to the UN Tax Committee. She sits on several boards related to the training and research into elements of fiscal systems. She has a page on Wikipedia and her opinions have been featured in the Irish Times, BBC, Al Jazeera, Trouw, DutchNews, NationTV, African Arguments, Standard News, Sierra Leone Telegraph, the Namibian, the Spider’s Web Documentary. Her work has been published in English, French, Kiswahili, Arabic, Norweigen, German and Spanish. She has been invited to speak at some of the leading international, continental and regional organizations & universities as well as governments and national parliaments across the world. Prof Waris is visible on social media.

My most recent publications:

Waris, A Solidarity Taxes in the Context of Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

Waris and Oyare, Taxation Systems and Public Policy in Kenya in Governing Kenya: Public Policy in Theory and Practice Editors: Onyango, Gedion, Hyden, Goran (Eds.) 2021


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Fiscal Law and Policy, University of Nairobi