Dr. Grace Kumchulesi


Dr. Grace Kumchulesi is a Development Economist with 15 years of experience through her roles as a university lecturer, project manager, and researcher. She is the Director of Development Planning of National Planning Commission and serves on the Boards of Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc and WeltHungerHilfe Malawi. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Malawi Economic Justice Network, led the Strategic Learning for a USAID Titukulane Development Food Security Activity to support the implementation of the National Resilience Strategy. She also served as the National Research Collaborator for Malawi’s Zero Hunger and Malnutrition Strategic Review, funded by the UN. Within this role, she used STATA to analyze data that assessed the impact of the program on food and nutrition security and represented the research team in all stakeholder engagements at both district and national levels. She used the evidence from this research to provide technical support to stakeholders such as the Lead Convener (former Vice President of the Republic of Malawi) and his high-level Advisory Board on disseminating their findings and recommendations. Grace also brings her experience as former Director of Research in the Malawi Public Policy Research and Analysis project (under the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, and Development) in strengthening capacity of public officials and non-state actors in translating, disseminating, and utilizing research evidence. She is well-versed with the macroeconomic environment, policy landscape, and policy processes in Malawi and led the process of developing the National Population Policy. Recently, she was engaged by UNDP Malawi and Malawi Government to review the National Budget to determine the level of support for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Malawi and was involved in pre-budget consultations as head of Malawi Economic Justice Network. She previously worked as a Knowledge Translation Scientist, conducting demographic dividend research studies in Malawi, Swaziland, and Botswana, and soft skills development studies in Nigeria. Previously, she also held a lecturing position at Chancellor College in the University of Malawi where she taught both undergraduate and graduates, supervised research, and mentored students. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, an MA in Economics, and a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Malawi. She held a post-doctoral Fellow at Population Council in New York and was a visiting researcher at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany. Grace is Malawian and is based in Lilongwe, Malawi. She has excellent oral and written communication skills in English and Chichewa languages.