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My name is Karen Helveg Petersen, founder of Radi-Consult, a one-person consulting firm based in Denmark.


I am an economist with good overall knowledge of economic theory and political economy as applied to development problems. I have a masters degree in political science and a PhD in economics plus have studied philosophy and political economy.


My work in the development field has over the last two decades particularly concerned public finance management (PFM) and energy economics.


In PFM I have had numerous assignments related to government expenditure management systems, not least in Francophone countries, and have conducted training sessions in a series of courses on PFM for participants from Danida beneficiary countries.


In energy economics I cover energy sector structure and organisation, resource development, rural electrification, economic and financial modelling, tariffs and subsidies plus economic, financial and institutional aspects of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change.

I have also worked in transport and the water sector.


Overall, I have extensive experience (acquired over more than 35 years) in general development issues, most sectors and support mechanisms plus their methodologies. At this time, I first of all cover up-stream analysis and diagnostic work.


In short my development philosophy is that the mechanisms of development are too often underestimated if not directly ignored. Problems are often deep-rooted and related to the economic and political power structures, internally and externally. It is essential always to project and circumscribe the potential for negative or zero impact. Donor support is not the driver of development but at best a push in the right direction. Donors may help to overcome financial shortcomings and may be arbiters between various factions. The obstacles that are holding developing countries or frontier economies back comprise lack of (access to) capital and a weak negotiating position that prevents them from getting sufficient revenue for their export products or natural resources. In addition, their politico-economic problems disadvantage them in the world system, and their specific country setting (regional and geographical factors) is often unfavourable. The needs are so overwhelming that they cannot be satisfied in a short time frame. Therefore, the persistent revenue shortages threaten not only sectoral developments but also PFM reform. Nevertheless, in the latter area progress has been substantial and some of the countries who have worked most consistently with donors are seeing positive impacts in the way their systems function.


Development of modern energy services and other infrastructure in weak countries requires government and other public resources and support mechanisms while not compromising but rather enhancing local and home-grown citizen and private initiative.


I am particularly keen on short-term work, which can however involve repeated visits to the same country or programme.




Teglgaardstraede 10   DK-1452 Copenhagen, phone: +45 33 91 06 99, cell: +45 41 62 77 75   CVR: 16804843


Karen Helveg Petersen

Danish citizen, born at the end of 1944 in Odense.


Study of Political Science (1963 to 1969) at the University of Århus, Denmark, leading to a master’s degree. Thesis on the Value Problem in the Social Sciences in 1968, going into the debate between the Karl Popper side and the Frankfurt School (Theodor W. Adorno and Jürgen Habermas first of all).  Two years study of Philosophy in Frankfurt/M (1969-71), concentrating on Political Economy, Karl Marx’s oeuvre. Continued studies for one more year in Århus. In 1972 appointed Assistant Professor at the new Roskilde University Center.


Economics Studies at Stony Brook, State University of New York (1974-79), graduating with a Ph.D degree. The thesis entitled An Asset Market Model of Exchange Rate Determination: Capital Market - Exchange Rate Interactions took its point of departure in the Tobin theory of ‘q’, the deviation of the stock-market price of assets from the reproduction costs of investment goods, and linked it to the monetary and bond markets in a system of flexible/floating exchange rates. Preparatory work included extensive studies of monetary history and theory.


Junior Professional Officer (1979-82) at the United Nations Development Programme, Nairobi, Kenya. Acquired some understanding of Anglophone Africa and the UN system in addition to getting a feel for ‘development’ in practice.


Economic Adviser (1982-85) to the Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities in Brazzaville, Congo, involving acquaintance with Francophone Africa and the European Commission.


Operations Officer and subsequently Country Coordinator (1986-92) at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, working with Caribbean countries, primarily Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, but also Haiti and Suriname. The position also involved close contact with the World Bank and IMF.


Chief Consultant (1993-2005) in Carl Bro International (now Grontmij), working in all the three development continents in addition to Eastern Europe (especially in the period 1993-95).


Independent consultant and director of own firm, Radi-Consult (2005 - ). Projects undertaken from 1993 onwards are detailed in the long cv.


Courses and diplomas during career: UN Examination in French and Spanish while in Nairobi. Passed university courses in practical microeconomics – cost-benefit analysis (Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies), financial management and advanced investment analysis (American University MBA program) and Russian (George Washington University). Diploma in co-integration (branch of econometrics) from Copenhagen University in 2006.

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