Personal profile

Further information

Development Experience

Having started my working life with ENDA-Zimbabwe (a Non-Governmental Organisation in Zimbabwe), I have spent the last 24 years researching, teaching and consulting in the field of Development Studies. The last 14 of these have been spent working as an academic here at the GDI  where I am an a senior lecturer and deputy director of the Doctoral College. Over the years I have developed collaborative links with various organisations and have formed productive links with major development actors like DfID, BRAC International, Save the Children International, the UNECA, and The British Council.


Additional Information

Country Experience: Malawi, Mozambique; South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


BA (Hons), DipRUP, MScRUP Z'bwe PhD Manchester

Research interests

Much of my academic career has been devoted to understanding the relationship between ‘place’ and ‘economy’ in Africa. I have sought to generate policy relevant knowledge on how changing agrarian structures transform and influence the way rural communities relate to natural resources (particularly land) and, how this relationship in turn shapes the way they make a living. Links between the rural and urban space economies also mean some of my work necessarily looks at how changes in agrarian structures affect the flows of commodities between the two space economies. Much of the research I do has a focus on smallholder livelihood production systems. I seek to understand global, national and local forces shaping the rural space economy in which smallholder farmers operate. I investigate their interactions with the state, markets, technology and the environment. In doing so I try to do what Doreen Masey describes as giving ‘process’ and ‘character’ to space by tracking rural social change both in the short term and, in what French historian Fernand Braudel has called the longue duree. On markets, I have a particular interest in understanding how rural commodity markets (especially land) work, the factors driving them and how they change social relations and reconfigure the rural space economy.

  • Recently I have worked on:  Post Crisis Reconstruction in Zimbabwe; Venture Philanthropy. I am currently the principal investigator on an ESRC-GCRF funded Strategic Network looking at the re-emergence of National Development Planning in the global south. See more here

    Supervision topics

    To date I have supervised 14 PhD students to completion and am interested in students who want to do research in the areas related to:

    • Agrarian Change and Social Transformation in Africa
    • National Development Planning in the Global South
    • Sustainable Development Goals
    • Development Management
    • Poverty and Wellbeing in Africa 


Current Research: or watch a short  video summary on

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

External positions

Deputy Chair Board of Directors, Trinity Church of England High School Academy

Areas of expertise

  • S Agriculture (General)
  • Land reforms;
  • Resettlement
  • Africa
  • Zimbabwe
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Poverty Studies
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Livelihoods
  • Sustainable Development
  • G Geography (General)
  • Sustainable Development
  • Community Conservation
  • National Development Planning

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute
  • Manchester Urban Institute


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