Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

BA MPhil PhD

Professor of the International Politics of Africa, DPIR
Official Fellow, St Peters College
Government and Politics Network
St Peter's College

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is Professor of the International Politics of Africa at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford; Official Fellow of St Peter's College; and a Fellow with the Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin. He is co-editor of African Affairs, the journal of the Royal African Society, and co-director of the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on African Governance. He has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust/British Academy Senior Research Fellowship for 2023-24.

Soares de Oliveira has conducted extensive fieldwork with a focus on the international political economy of African states, especially in regard to the extractive industries, the financial sector, conflict and post-conflict reconstruction, and African-Asian relations. He is the author of Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War (2015) and Oil and Politics in the Gulf of Guinea (2007) and co-editor of China Returns to Africa (2008) and The New Protectorates: International Tutelage and the Making of Liberal States (2011). He is currently writing a book titled Africa Offshore: The Global Offshore Economy and the Reshaping of African Politics (under contract with Hurst Publishers and Oxford University Press US).

Soares de Oliveira has worked in the field of governance and the extractive industries for organisations such as the World Bank, the European Commission, Catholic Relief Services, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Oxfam. His individual and collaborative work has received support from the Leverhulme Trust, the ESRC, the Joffe Trust, the Volkswagen Foundation, DFID/FCDO, the British Academy, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, among others. Soares de Oliveira has been Visiting Professor at Sciences Po in Paris, a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, and a visiting fellow at Yale University.


Ricardo's research interests include:

Comparative Politics and Government; Political economy and international political economy; Violence, security and conflict; Civil wars; Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding; Responsibility to protect; Statebuilding.


Soares de Oliveira’s commentary has appeared in, among others, the Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, Literary Review, Foreign Policy, Prospect, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Times, Politico, Les Echos, Folha de São Paulo, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Le Temps, Der Spiegel, New Statesman,, and Foreign Affairs. Interviews, quotes and references to Soares de Oliveira’s work have appeared in the New Yorker, Al Jazeera, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, the BBC, New York Times, Reuters, Financial Times, Forbes, The Economist, London Review of Books, Estado de São Paulo, Mail & Guardian, Voice of America, Radio France International, Bloomberg News, Mediapart, and Sunday Times.

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira



Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War (Hurst and Oxford University Press US, 2015).

The New Protectorates: International Tutelage and the Making of Liberal States (with James Mayall, eds., Hurst and Columbia University Press, 2011).

China Returns to Africa (with Chris Alden and Daniel Large, eds., Hurst and Columbia University Press, 2008).

Oil and Politics in the Gulf of Guinea (Hurst and Oxford University Press US, 2008).


Select Articles and Book Chapters

(2023) with A. Cooley and J. Heathershaw, “Transnational Uncivil Society Networks: Kleptocracy’s global fightback against liberal activism”, European Journal of International Relations (forthcoming).

(2023) with T. Prelec, “Enabling African Loots: Tracking the Laundering of Nigerian kleptocrats’ ill-gotten gains in western financial centers”, Journal of International Relations and Development 26, 3.

(2022) “Researching Africa and the Offshore World”, Journal of Modern African Studies 60 (3).

(2022) with Anne Pitcher, eds, “Authoritarian Power in the Global Economy”, Special issue, APSA Democracy and Autocracy Newsletter 20(1).  

(2022) “Portugal and Africa”, J. Fernandes, A. C. Pinto and P. Magalhães (eds) Oxford Handbook of Portuguese Politics (Oxford University Press, 2022).

(2022) with B. Dye, “India-Africa Relations under the UPA governments” in R. K. Laskar (ed), India’s Diplomacy during the UPA Rule, 2004-2014 (Oxford University Press, 2021)

(2021) with J. Heathershaw, A. Cooley, T. Mayne, C. Michel, T. Prelec and J. Sharman, The UK’s Kleptocracy Problem: How servicing post-Soviet elites weakens the rule of law (Chatham House)

(2020) with Nelson Oppong and Luke Patey (eds) “Special Issue: Governing African Oil and Gas: Boom-era political and institutional innovation”, Extractive Industries and Society 7, 4.

(2020) with Jocelyn Alexander, Paolo Israel and Miles Larmer  (eds)  “Special Issue: Liberation Beyond the Nation: Interactions, Cultural Productions and Legacies’, Journal of Southern African Studies  46, 5.

(2020) with Rebecca Engebretsen, “The Political Economy of Banking Regulation in Angola and the Role of Global Banking Standards”, in Emily Jones, ed., The Politics of Banking Regulation in Developing Countries (Oxford University Press, 2020)

(2019) with Manuel Ennes Ferreira, “The Political Economy of Banking in Angola”, African Affairs 118, 470.

(2018) ‘Taming Intervention: Sovereignty, Statehood and Political Order in Africa’ (with Harry Verhoeven), Survival 60 (2).
(2016) ‘The Struggle for the State and the Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Angola, 1975-2015’, Social Dynamics 42 (1).
(2015), ‘To Intervene in Darfur, or Not: Reexamining the R2P Debate and its impact’, (with H. Verhoeven and M. Mohan), Global Society 30 (1).

(2014) Avoiding Africa's Oil (April). 

(2014) 'Our Identity is our Currency': South Africa, the responsibility to protect and the logic of African intervention (with Harry Verhoeven and CSR Murthy), Conflict, Security and Development 14(4).

(2013), 'O Governo Esta Aqui': Postwar State-Making in the Angolan Periphery, Politique Africaine 130.

(2013) Oil Politics, in Nic Cheeseman, David M. Anderson and Andrea Scheibler, Routledge Handbook of African Politics (Routledge). 

(2013) Africa's Illiberal State-builders (with Will Jones and Harry Verhoeven), Refugee Studies Center Working Paper 89.

(2013, forthcoming) Political Economy of the Petroleum Sector in Angola (with Kjetil Hansen-Shino), in Tuan Le Minh, ed., The Political Economy of the Natural Resource Paradox in Africa: Governing Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development (World Bank Publications).

(2012) The Extractive Industries in Post-Conflict Settings (with Thorsten Benner), in Mats Berdal and Dominik Zaum, eds, Political Economy of Statebuilding: Power After Peace (Routledge).

(2012) Energy and Security, (Lead Author with A. Cherp et al), Global Energy Assessment: Toward a Sustainable Future (Cambridge University Press, GEA/IIASA).

(2011) Illiberal Peacebuilding in Angola, Journal of Modern African Studies 49 (2).

(2010) The Good/Bad Nexus in Energy Governance(with Thorsten Benner), in Jan Martin Witte and Andreas Goldthau, eds., Global Energy Governance: The New Rules of the Game (Brookings Institution).

(2009) Indias Rise and the Global Politics of Energy Supply, 11th Vasant Sheth Annual Lecture (Mumbai: Vasant Sheth Foundation).

(2009) Africa since the End of the Cold War, Asteion: Journal of the Suntory Foundation, April (in Japanese).

(2008) The Geopolitics of Chinese Oil Investment in Africa in Alden, Large and Soares de Oliveira, eds., China Returns to Africa (Hurst and Columbia University Press).

(2007) Business Success, Angola-Style: Postcolonial Politics and the Rise and Rise of SONANGOL, Journal of Modern African Studies 45 (4).

(2006) Context, Path Dependency and Oil-Based Development in the Gulf of Guinea, in Michael Dauderstdt and Arne Schildberg, eds., Dead Ends of Transition (Campus).

(2005) Sobre as relacoes entre Portugal e Angola ao fim de trinta anos: um ensaio critico, Relacoes Internacionais 8.

(2003) Bottom of the Barrel: Africas Oil Boom and Poor (contributing writer, with Ian Gary and Terry Lynn Karl, Catholic Relief Services).

(2003) Business and Politics in Sao Tome and Principe: from Cocoa Monoculture to Petro-State (with J. G. Frynas and G. Wood), African Affairs 102 (406).

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