SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Dr Matteo Rizzo

BA (L'Orientale), MSc (London), PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Matteo Rizzo
Department of Development Studies

Senior Lecturer in Development Studies

Centre of African Studies


International Financial Institutions, Neoliberalism and Knowledge

Research Cluster Member

Dr Matteo Rizzo
Email address:
0207 898 4836
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
By Appointment:
On Sabbatical:
Terms 1 & 3 (2021/22)


Matteo  has degrees from "L'Orientale" University (Naples, Italy) and SOAS (MSc and PhD), where he also completed an ESRC post-doctorate fellowship. Matteo has taught at SOAS, LSE, Oxford and Cambridge, where he was a Smuts Research Fellow in African Studies at the Centre of African Studies. Matteo also worked for over two years as a policy adviser on rural poverty for Save the Children UK and as a consultant for the ILO, SIDA and Oxfam GB.

Matteo is an editorial board member of the Review of African Political Economy.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Jessica Whelligan, Questioning BRTs: A win-win solution to public transport problems in developing countries? (ESRC-ITF collaborative studentship)
  • Julian Manuel Goetz, The Impact of Informal and Rural Labour Markets on Poverty Reduction: A Mixed Methods Study of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Northwest Tanzania (working title)
  • Prince Asafu-Adjaye, Trade Union Responses to Neoliberalism in Ghana
  • Jesse Harber, Transport governance, the state, and urban space in Gauteng, South Africa (Commonwealth studentship)


Matteo's research interests are the economics of Africa, the political economy of development, the present as well as its history with a focus on Eastern Africa (with fieldwork experience in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Liberia). A specialist of Tanzania, and fluent in Swahili, his own work has so far focussed on the history of rural development and agrarian change in Southern Tanzania, economic deregulation, privatisation and urban informal labour markets in Dar es Salaam, development aid effectiveness, and the role (potential or actual) of civil society (NGOs and trade unions) in development. Labour markets, their functioning and their politics, are a theme running through his work to date.

Matteo is a member of the Labour, Movements and Development, Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States, and Agrarian Change and Development Research Clusters.


Authored Books

Rizzo, Matteo (2017) Taken For A Ride: Grounding Neoliberalism, Precarious Labour, and Public Transport in an African Metropolis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weeks, John and Andersson, David and Cramer, Christopher and Geda, Alemayehu and Hailu, Degol and Muhereza, Frank and Rizzo, Matteo and Ronge, Eric and Stein, Howard (2002) Supporting Ownership: Swedish Development Cooperation with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Volume 2: Country Studies. Sweden: Sida.

Weeks, John and Andersson, David and Cramer, Christopher and Geda, Alemayehu and Hailu, Degol and Muhereza, Frank and Rizzo, Matteo and Ronge, Eric and Stein, Howard (2002) Supporting Ownership: Swedish Development Cooperation with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Volume 1: Synthesis Report. Sweden: Sida.


Rizzo, Matteo and Atzeni, Maurizio (2020) 'Workers’ Power in Resisting Precarity: Comparing Transport Workers in Buenos Aires and Dar es Salaam'. Work, Employment and Society, (34) 6, pp 1114-1130.

Johnston, Deborah and Deane, Kevin and Rizzo, Matteo (2015) 'The political economy of HIV'. Review of African Political Economy, (42) 14, pp 335-341.

Rizzo, Matteo (2014) 'The Political Economy of an Urban Megaproject: the Bus Rapid Transit Project in Tanzania'. African Affairs, (114) 455, pp 249-270.

Rizzo, Matteo and Kilama, Blandina and Wuyts, Marc (2014) 'The Invisibility of Wage Employment in Statistics on the Informal Economy in Africa: Causes and Consequences'. Journal of Development Studies, (51) 2, pp 149-161.

Rizzo, Matteo (2014) 'Can Workers in the Informal Economy Organise for Labour Rights? Evidence from Tanzania’s Transport Workers'. CDPR Development Viewpoint 76.

Cotula, Lorenzo and Oya, Carlos and Codjoe, Emmanuel A. and Eid, Abdurehman and Kakraba-Ampeh, Mark and Keeley, James and Lokaley Kidewa, Admasu and Makwarimba, Melissa and Michago Seide, Wondwosen and Ole Nasha, William and Owusu Asare, Richard and Rizzo, Matteo (2014) 'Testing Claims about Large Land Deals in Africa: Findings from a Multi-Country Study'. Journal of Development Studies, (50) 7, pp 903-925.

Rizzo, Matteo (2014) 'A response to Gundula Fischer's comment'. Review of African Political Economy, (41) 140, pp 311-315.

Rizzo, Matteo (2013) 'Informalisation and the end of trade unionism as we knew it? Dissenting remarks from a Tanzanian case study'. Review of African Political Economy, (40) 136, pp 290-308.

Rizzo, Matteo (2011) 'The Struggles of Informal Transport Workers in Tanzania: Debunking the Myth of Micro Solutions'. CDPR Development Viewpoint, (68).

Rizzo, Matteo (2011) '"Life is War"! Informal Transport Workers and Neoliberalism in Tanzania, 1998-2009'. Development and Change, (42) 5, pp 179-206.

Rizzo, Matteo (2009) 'Becoming wealthy: the life-history of a rural entrepreneur in Tanzania 1922-1980s'. Journal of Eastern African Studies, (3) 2, pp 221-239.

Rizzo, Matteo (2009) 'The struggle for alternatives: NGOs’ responses to the 2008 World Development Report'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (9) 2, pp 277-290.

Rizzo, Matteo (2006) 'What was left of the groundnut scheme: Development Disaster and Labour Market in Southern Tanganyika 1946-1952'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (6) 2, pp 205-238.

Rizzo, Matteo (2002) 'Being taken for a ride: Privatisation of the Dar es Salaam transport system 1983-1998'. Journal of Modern African Studies, (40) 1, pp 133-157.

Rizzo, Matteo (2000) 'Gli operatori del trasporto informale a Dar es Salaam (Informal transport operators in Dar es Salaam)'. Afriche e Orienti, (4), pp 53-67.

Book Chapters

Rizzo, Matteo (2018) 'Neoliberalizing Infrastructure and Its Discontents: The Bus Rapid Transit Project in Dar es Salaam'. In: Enright, Theresa and Rossi, Ugo, (eds.), The Urban Political: Ambivalent Spaces of Late Neoliberalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 103-121.

Rizzo, Matteo and Petit, Nicolas (2015) 'The policy neglect of rural wage employment: The cases of Rwanda and Ethiopia'. In: Oya, Carlos and Pontara, Nicola, (eds.), Rural wage employment in developing countries: Theory, evidence, and policy. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.

Rizzo, Matteo (2013) 'The Privatization and Deregulation of the Public Transport System, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1983-2010: Outcomes and Dilemmas'. In: Chanie, P. and Mihyo, P. B., (eds.), Thirty Years of Public Sector Reforms in Africa: Selected Country Experiences. Uganda: Fountain Publishers.

Monographs and Working Papers

Rizzo, Matteo (2011) Addressing inequality in rural labour markets: A review of current policy neglect in Ethiopia and Rwanda and a framework to begin to address it. Geneva: International Labour Organization. Policy Integration Working Paper, no. 103.

Book Reviews

Rizzo, Matteo (2010) 'Book review of "La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants" by Annette Aurélie Desmarais'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (37) 3.


This list was last generated on Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 20:48 Europe/London.