Samuel Admassu

Australian Farm Institute


Welcome to Insights: Profile, a new feature in which you’ll get to know members of the Australian Farm Institute team. In this edition we introduce Dr Samuel Admassu, who joined AFI as a researcher in mid-January. Samuel brings a wealth of experience to the team, including a PhD in Economics from Deakin University.

Question 1: Samuel, tell us about your background – where are you from, where have you worked before you joined AFI?

Trained as an economist in Ethiopia, Europe and Australia, I have experience working as a researcher and lecturer in various institutes. In Australia, I participated in research and teaching activities at Deakin University, where I also received a doctoral degree in Economics.

I was also a teaching associate at Monash University where I was involved in teaching different economic courses. I also taught economics as a lecturer at Box Hill Institute and Torrens University Australia in Melbourne.

In Ethiopia, I worked as a lecturer of Economics at the Addis Ababa University and a senior research assistant at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). I was born and grew up in Ethiopia and have lived in Australia for five years now.

Question 2: What is your area of expertise in research?

I have participated in several research projects that offered me a solid experience in data management, analysis and writing reports.

While writing my PhD thesis on current topics of trade relevant to Africa, I employed a gravity model on a panel dataset of more than 150 countries over the time span of more than 20 years to investigate various issues that are interesting and important for both trade and development literature. Specifically, Africa has been largely marginalised from international trade for decades, so my thesis is an interesting and important topic to both trade and development literature.

In a nutshell, my thesis finding revealed that

(1) despite low inter-regional trade, reciprocal trade agreements increase exports of participating African countries more than non-reciprocal trade agreements; (2) different African regional trade blocks intensify member countries’ exports to different degrees; (3) African migrant network plays a more important role in facilitating their home countries’ traders import than export; and (4) service trade helps enhance income accrued to the service sector.

The research environment at ILRI gave me the opportunity to participate in several agricultural research projects. I published articles in refereed journals such as Empirical Economics and wrote several technical reports.

These experiences have afforded me a well-rounded skill set that includes project management and planning as well as my economics expertise.

Question 3: Why were you interested in joining the Australian Farm Institute team?

I developed an interest in agricultural sector research when I worked as a senior research assistant at ILRI, partly because I am from a country where the agricultural sector is inefficient despite its significant GDP share. I have a strong interest in knowing more about the issues affecting the agricultural sector, and I felt that I can contribute and learn about agricultural sector policy problems by joining the research team at the Australian Farm Institute.

I am especially looking forward to researching the topics such as blockchain, biosecurity and climate change as these issues impact and affect not only Australian agriculture but the global sector.

Question 4: Tell us what you would like to do with your knowledge one day – what are your hopes and plans?

One day in the future, I have a hope to use my knowledge to advise towards enhancing the efficiency of Ethiopian agriculture. I therefore have a plan to have an in-depth understanding of the agricultural sector through my work at AFI and use this expertise to contribute my share towards the effort in developing the Ethiopian agricultural sector.