Andrew Donaldson studied at the University of Stellenbosch, UNISA and Cambridge University. He taught Economics at the former University of Transkei, Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand.
He joined the then Department of Finance in 1993, and in 2001 was appointed Deputy Director-General with responsibility for the Budget Office and Public Finance in the National Treasury. His work covered spending policy, social development and reform of the budget process and budget documentation.
He contributed to the work of the Katz Commission on tax policy, served on the Committee of Inquiry into a National Health Insurance System, was a member of the team that drafted the 1996 macroeconomic strategy and served on the Interdepartmental Task Team on Social Security and Retirement Reform.
In 2013, he was appointed acting head of the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), an agency of the National Treasury that supports public finance management, public-private partnerships, employment facilitation and infrastructure investment
He chaired the steering committee of the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth, a project that ran from 2013 to 2019.
In 2018 he joined the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.