SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Agrarian Transition and Development in an Age of Globalised Inequality: Some Questions from Africa

Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA)

Date: 12 March 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 March 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT)

Type of Event: Seminar

African countries face a different set of challenges in their attempts to develop than have more recently developed countries. The domination of global low-cost manufacturing by a handful of countries with vast amounts of relatively cheap labour and decent infrastructure make the path of industrialisation by export expansion more challenging than it was in the past. The failure of an industrialising process that creates employment and the presence of an agricultural sector dominated by smallholders requires that we reconsider the nature of agrarian transition. In this talk, we will explore the predicament African countries face in a globalised and unequal world, and the potential paths to rural change, using Kenya as a case study.


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Agrarian Transition and Development in an Age of Globalised Inequality: Some Questions from Africa

Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Co-Director of the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project.  He was Chairperson of the Five Colleges African Studies Council from 2014 to 2016. Previously he was Associate Professor of Economics and Chair of Africana Studies at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Ten Millionaires and Ten Million Beggars: A Study of Inequality and Development in Kenya and co-author of An Employment Targeted Plan for Kenya, plus numerous articles and chapters. His research interests are in the political economy of development with particular attention to issues of class, gender and income distribution in relation to agrarian transition and nationhood in Africa, as well as the process of structural transformation in Africa and the challenges faced from both within the continent and outside. In particular, he is interested in the impact of trade and investment of other industrialising countries on Africa. In his most recent work on identity and economic outcomes in African countries, he explores the interaction between identity formation, the development of capitalism, inequality and nationhood. Mwangi has been active in policy circles consulting with multilateral and national agencies and NGOs such as the UNDP, Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Center for Economic Transformation, and the Society for International Development among others, on issues of development particularly with respect to Africa.

Organiser: Dr Feyzi Ismail

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