Dr Greg Mills

Senior Associate Fellow and Advisory Board Member


Dr Greg Mills heads the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation, established in 2005 by the Oppenheimer family to strengthen African economic performance.

With Brenthurst, Greg has directed numerous reform projects with African heads of government, including Rwanda (2007-8), Mozambique (2005-11), Swaziland (2010-11), Malawi (2012-14, and again 2020/1), Kenya (2012 and 2020), Lesotho (2008; 2019-20), Liberia (2006/7), Zambia (2010; 2016), Zimbabwe (2009-13), Ghana (2017), Ethiopia (2019-20), Nigeria (2017-18), and almost continuously at various levels of government in South Africa from the Foundation’s outset. He sat on the Danish Africa Commission and on the African Development Bank’s high-level panel on fragile states, and served four deployments to Afghanistan with the British Army as the adviser to the commander. He has also worked extensively in Colombia, and with a variety of African governments in both improving the conditions for peacebuilding and investment, including through the Zambezi Protocol on the natural resource sector.

Prior to joining the Brenthurst Foundation, he taught at the Universities of the Western Cape and Cape Town, and was the national director of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) from 1996-2005, and SAIIA Director of Studies from 1994-96.

A Senior Associate Fellow and member of the Advisory Board of the Royal United Services Institute, he is the author of the best-selling books Why Africa Is Poor and Africa’s Third Liberation, and together with President Olusegun Obasanjo, Making Africa Work: A Handbook for Economic Success. In 2018, he completed a second stint as a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, producing a book on the state of African democracy, which was published as Democracy Works in 2019. The Asian Aspiration: Why and How Africa Should Emulate Asia (again with President Obasanjo and former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn) followed in 2020, which identifies the relevant lessons from Asia’s development and growth story. His writings won him the Recht Malan Prize for Non-Fiction Work in South Africa.

His latest books, Expensive Poverty, which details the failings of aid, and suggests several ways to improve development outcomes, was published by Pan Macmillan in October 2021, while The Ledger: Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan was published by Hurst/Oxford University Press at the start of 2022.

Greg was appointed to the Advisory Panel of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 2022.

He holds a BA Honours from the University of Cape Town, and an MA and a PhD from the University of Lancaster.

His recreational interests include cycling and motorsport. A grandson of the pre-war Grand Prix driver Billy Mills, he received his national colours for motorsport in 2016, and is the recipient of provincial colours for rowing and motorsport. In 2019, he headed the first South African team to participate at Le Mans, in the Road to Le Mans, driving a Bentley GT3, and was appointed as the President of the Western Province Motor Club the same year. He is a board member of Motorsport SA, and serves also as a member of the FIA’s Historic Commission.

Greg has written eight books on Southern African motorsport for various charities, the last being Saloons, Bars and Boykies: Southern African Motorsport Heroes.

He is married to Janet Wilson, the artist, teacher, and South African representative rower. They have three children.

The Brenthurst Foundation video on Afghanistan after the West's withdrawal

The Asian Roundabout: Afghanistan After the West's Withdrawal

Description: Between 2001 and 2019, two million men and women from abroad served in Afghanistan, and more than $2 trillion was expended, an extraordinary, once-in-a-generation commitment of resources to a poor country, a staggering opportunity cost.


Latest publications

View all publications