Prof. Desta Belay

Field of research

  • Transformational infrastructure
  • Inclusive and sustainable industrialization
  • Transformational leapfrogging
  • Wellbeing Economy


Desta Belay is an Extraordinary Professor at Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST), Stellenbosch University and Fellow of Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). He also teaches at Addis Abeba Institute of Technology as a Visiting Professor. He is a chemical engineer by background and has a PhD of engineering in Industrial Environmental Economics from Lund University and an MBA in International Business from American University of London. He has more than 30 years of experience working for industries, universities and international organizations. He worked for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for more than 13 years holding various positions. This includes serving as Head of UNEP Business and Industry Program and Deputy Regional Director for Africa.

His main areas of expertise are: resource efficient and cleaner production, sustainable energy systems, sustainable industrial development policies, Green economy and sustainability science. His current research area is focussed on Transformational infrastructure for Wellbeing Economy in Africa. He has widely published in peer-reviewed journals and co-edited the ‘Handbook on Sustainable Development Policy and Administration’ and the book on ‘Transformative Infrastructure for development of a Wellbeing Economy in Africa’. Professor Belay is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (FAAS) since 2016.