Prof Naohiko Omata

Associate Professor

Naohiko Omata is Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC). Prior to joining the RSC, Naohiko was Senior Teaching Fellow in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Previously, he worked as a practitioner and consultant for UNDP, UNHCR, and international and local NGOs in various Sub-Saharan African countries. 

Based on extensive research in West Africa, Naohiko has published widely on refugee livelihoods, rights and repatriation including articles in the Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Community Development Journal. Before starting his career in forced migration and international development, he worked in the private sector in Japan and the United States.

Naohiko received his PhD in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London; he also holds an MA in Forced Migration and Humanitarian Aid from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA in Law from the University of Tokyo.

In the media
Refugee economies
Refugee economies in Uganda: creating new market-based opportunities

Books and monographs

Omata, Naohiko (with A Betts, L Bloom, Josiah Kaplan) (2016) 'Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development', Oxford: Oxford University Press

Journal articles and special issues

Omata, Naohiko (2021) '"Over-researched" and "Under-researched" refugee groups: Exploring the phenomena, causes and consequences', Journal of Human Rights Practice 12 (3) 681-95
Omata, Naohiko (2020) 'The Kalobeyei Settlement: A Self-Reliance Model for Refugees?', Journal of Refugee Studies 33 (1) 189–223
Omata, Naohiko (2020) 'Self-Reliance and Social Networks: Explaining Refugees’ Reluctance to Relocate from Kakuma to Kalobeyei', Journal of Refugee Studies 62-85 33 (1)
Omata, Naohiko (2013) 'The Complexity of Refugees' Return Decision-making in a Protracted Exile: Beyond the Home-coming Model and Durable Solutions', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Omata, Naohiko (2012) 'Repatriation and Integration of Liberian Refugees from Ghana: the Importance of Personal Networks in the Country of Origin', Journal of Refugee Studies
Omata, Naohiko (2011) 'Forgotten or Neglected? Non-registered Liberian Refugees in Ghana: Their Rights and Protection', Oxford Monitoring of Forced Migration 1 (2)
Omata, Naohiko (2011) 'Online Connections for Remittances', Forced Migration Review 38
Omata, Naohiko (2011) 'Who Receives Remittances? A Case Study of the Distributional Impact on Liberian Refugees in Ghana', Development Viewpoint (Centre for Development Policy and Research, SOAS) 61


Omata, Naohiko (2010) 'The Significance and Limitations of Remittances from the West for a Liberian Refugee Population and the Local Host Community in Buduburam Village, Ghana'. In T Aoyama (ed) Migration, Mobility and Globalization , Tokyo: Office for International Academic Strategy, University of Foreign Studies


Omata, Naohiko (with A Betts, L Bloom, Josiah Kaplan) (2014) 'Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions', Oxford: Humanitarian Innovation Project
Omata, Naohiko (2007) 'Empowering Rural Women through Strengthening Shea Butter Industry', The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana
Omata, Naohiko (2004) 'Alchemy Field Report on FCC Micro Credit Programs to Refugees in Mozambique.', Feinstein International Famine Center, Tufts University

Working papers

Omata, Naohiko (2016) 'Micro-finance in Refugee Contexts: current scholarship and research gaps', Refugee Studies Centre Working Paper No 116 Oxford: University of Oxford
Omata, Naohiko (2012) 'Struggling to Find Solutions: Liberian Refugees in Ghana', UNHCR Research Paper 234
Omata, Naohiko (2011) ''Repatriation Is Not for Everyone': The Life and Livelihoods of Former Refugees in Liberia', UNHCR Research Paper 213
29 June, 2022
Naohiko Omata wins Teaching Excellence Award
20 May, 2021
New article from RSC explores international agencies' blindness to refugee cross-border activity
06 November, 2019
RSC publishes report in Somali to aid dissemination to refugee and host communities
18 April, 2019
New article by Naohiko Omata examines complexity of refugee-host economic relationships
22 January, 2019
New RSC report assesses impact of Uganda's self-reliance strategy for refugees
28 November, 2018
The Myth of Self-Reliance by Naohiko Omata wins Honourable Mention award
20 August, 2018
New RSC report compares self-reliance and aid models in two Kenya refugee settlements
11 May, 2018
New article by Evan Easton-Calabria and Naohiko Omata critiques refugee 'self-reliance'
20 April, 2018
RSC, OPHI teams Highly Commended for impact in new O2RB awards
20 February, 2018
What difference does it make to be a refugee? RSC publishes new report on Refugee Economies in Kenya


20 May, 2020
'Many refugees living in Nairobi struggle to survive because of COVID-19'. Naohiko Omatta writes for the Conversation on the ways in which the pandemic are disrupting refugees' ability to support themselves
09 Aug, 2016
'Microfinance: Startup Seed Funding for Refugees'. Naohiko Omata and Evan Easton-Calabria write for Refugees Deeply
Research interests: