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Claire Kumar

Living in: Rwanda
Nationality: Irish


Independent Consultant

Claire has over 20 years of experience working in international development, with a particular focus on social and economic policy issues. As policy advisor in Christian Aid for 7 years, she led work on economic justice – with a strong focus on inequality and fiscal policy - for the Latin America and Caribbean division. She produced many pieces of research during this time, including a regional inequality report, briefing papers on tax systems in Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil, a report on mineral taxation in Latin America and oil and gas taxation in Bolivia.

Since leaving Christian Aid and relocating to Rwanda Claire has worked for the last 5 years as a consultant. She has had a broad range of clients and have worked consistently with UNICEF and Save the Children on fiscal policy issues during this time. For UNICEF, she developed their ‘Public Finance for Children’ baseline analysis in relation to health and nutrition, education, social protection, water and sanitation and early childhood development. Two separate research reports were produced on national and district social sector budgets, as well as the production of a complete data set and tools to aid equity analysis in future monitoring efforts. Claire also worked with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Rwanda to develop a national plan for the expansion of pre-primary education in Rwanda. Work included extensive costing of options to scale up investment in pre-primary education, with equitable targeting a key element of this work. With Save the Children her work has focused on producing research reports and briefing papers around the tax system and tax reform agenda, as well as the education and social protection budgets in Rwanda. This work has included district level education budget and progress analysis, which has fed into advocacy regarding alternative, more equitable, education financing formulas for the country.

Claire has also continued other work in the tax and development field, conducting research for Christian Aid and the Tax Justice Network-Africa on tax and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa, and working with Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) to scope opportunities for US-based foundations interested in working on tax and illicit financial flows. Currently her client base includes Transparency and Accountability Initiative, the Global Alliance for Tax Justice – identifying options for their new strategic plan – and Oxfam. Her new work with Oxfam is in collaboration with LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, as part of their joint project: “Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit.”

Claire’s undergraduate degree was in European Law and French at Exeter University. After this Claire moved to Guatemala for 5 years and worked for an international development agency. She then returned to the UK and completed a master’s degree in Development Management at LSE, with a strong focus on economic development policy.


Personal Statement

I have worked consistently on inequality over the past decade. It has been a central issue for a lot of my economic and social policy work. Working in Rwanda directly on social policies and particularly the equitable financing aspect has really driven a strong interest in understanding much more about public policy design and evaluation from the perspective of inequalities. In addition the aspect of progressive taxation has also been a central focus of my work for many years. Being informed on the most recent research, thinking and debates regarding inequality reduction (or aggravation) as a result of tax systems, social policy design and public expenditure is of great personal and professional interest for me. This is why I am so excited to participate in Oxfam and III’s joint project ‘Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit’ and the Visiting Atlantic Fellows programme. I expect the development of this inequality framework and toolkit to contribute to a stronger understanding of the different dimensions of inequality and the main drivers of inequality in developing countries. Not only will this project advance understanding, it aims to provide easy-to-use tools and frameworks for developing country practitioners, assisting them to analyse inequalities and design appropriate programmes and policies in response.