Global Development Institute Blog

Global Development Institute Blog

We’re the Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester: where critical thinking meets social justice.

Dealing with Covid-19 in the towns and cities of the global South

Dealing with Covid-19 in the towns and cities of the global South

Diana Mitlin, Professor of Global Urbanism, Global Development Institute

The global spread of Covid-19 poses particular risks for the one billion people living in informal urban settlements in the global South. A range of factors make transition of the virus more likely and strategies to tackle it extremely difficult to implement.

Despite these challenges, this is an opportunity to forge new partnerships between agencies that – if they work together – can reach the populations in need. read more…

COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp relief the risks faced by South African gig workers

COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp relief the risks faced by South African gig workers

The Fairwork Project has launched its second round of yearly ratings for digital platforms in South Africa, which highlight the precarious nature of work in the gig economy

South Africa’s has recently declared a “national state of disaster” because of coronavirus. This will especially impact the most vulnerable groups in the country. That includes those in casual or insecure employment who face two possibilities in the reality of social distancing: loss of income, or ongoing exposure to the virus through the front-line nature of their work. Today the Fairwork Project is releasing a set of scores which evaluate gig economy platforms such as Uber, SweepSouth, and OrderIn against a set of fair work standards. In the current circumstances, their findings about the situation of gig workers in South Africa are more relevant than ever. read more…

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Low-income households in Bangladesh give as well as take loans

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Low-income households in Bangladesh give as well as take loans

The Hrishipara Daily Diaries project has been recording the daily money transactions of 70 low-income households in central Bangladesh, in some cases since May 2015. Bangladesh is famous for its microfinance banks (MFIs) and most of our ‘diarists’ have accounts with MFIs, so it is perhaps no surprise that we have recorded them taking more than 8 million taka’s worth of loans from MFIs, the equivalent of about a quarter of a million dollars at the ‘Purchasing Power Parity’ (PPP) exchange rate. Please see our publications page for other blogs about how diarists take and use loans.

Less well known is the fact that low-income households lend as well as borrow, and in this blog we will look at the phenomenon in more detail.

read more…

In conversation: Siobhan McGrath on forced labour and marketising anti-slavery

In conversation: Siobhan McGrath on forced labour and marketising anti-slavery

In this episode, Dr Rory Horner talked to Dr Siobhán McGrath about her research into forced labour and the marketising anti-slavery.

Siobhán McGrath is Assistant Professor in Human Geography at Durham University.

Rory Horner, Senior Lecturer in Globalisation and Political Economy in the Global Development Institute.

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Note: This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole
The US-China Trade War: The End of Multilateralism or the Search for a New Bargain?

The US-China Trade War: The End of Multilateralism or the Search for a New Bargain?

Shamel Azmeh, Lecturer in International Development, Global Development Institute, Ken Shadlen Professor in International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science

In recent years, the collapse of the multilateral economic regime has become a regular theme. In Davos, at the World Economic Conference in January, this issue emerged in a number of speeches, with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning that the end of multilateralism and the fragmentation of the multilateral world will only end in misery. Indeed, for people like us who teach international political economy, material in our courses on the role of international trade rules in providing predictability appear almost outdated with the routine and blatant violations of existing trade rules, by the Trump administration and also other countries in response. The World Trade Organization (WTO), which was established in the 1995 with an aim of providing a rules-based trade regime, has for some time suffered from paralysis as a forum for negotiating new rules (as made evident by the failure to complete the Doha Round, which started in 2001), but nonetheless the existing rules, which cover extensive areas of economic activity, remained in force.  That no longer seems to be the case either: the WTO’s rules are being flaunted on a regular basis by virtually all countries, large and small, and the ability to enforce these rules is challenged by the United States refusal to nominate judges to the Appellate Body of the organization’s dispute settlement system. read more…

Fieldwork 2020 in Cape Town: Innovation and community.

Fieldwork 2020 in Cape Town: Innovation and community.

Jeannette Zes Giovani, Gloria Oviedo Perez and Danah Alzeiby, Management and Information Systems: Change and Development and ICTs for Development students

Learning is always exciting, and it is even more amazing when we can witness real-life applications of the courses and techniques we have learned at the University. In our case, as postgrad students of the Global Development Institute, it involved a trip to one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, South Africa. Cape Town is a leader in ICTs and the next niche for emerging technology companies, in addition to being a developing country with noticeable societal challenges. Thus, it was the ideal place for us, as students, to compare and see in practice some concepts such as the digital divide, the use of ICT in different industries, and to evaluate Information System success/failure through various frameworks/models that we learned in the classroom, all of which play in real life. read more…

Advancing participatory planning in Zimbabwe: Lessons from Bulawayo

Advancing participatory planning in Zimbabwe: Lessons from Bulawayo

Diana Mitlin, Professor of Global Urbanism, Global Development Institute

Over the last few years, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe has experimented with a wide range of participatory planning techniques. A recent workshop in the city, also featuring experiences from Kenya and South Africa, provided an opportunity to draw some conclusions about what has worked. read more…

In conversation: Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson discuss donor funding, NGOs and governance

In conversation: Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson discuss donor funding, NGOs and governance

In this episode, GDI’s Nicola Banks talks to Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson about the political role of NGOs and how donor funding can support those.

Jelmer Kamstra has been Senior Policy Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in the Civil Society Division since 2015. He is now Senior Researcher at the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Zoe Abrahamson is Bond’s senior funding adviser. She coordinates Bond’s funding stream, acting as a conduit between funders and NGOs.

Dr Nicola Banks a Senior Lecturer in Urban Development and Deputy Managing Director of the Global Development Institute.

read more…

GDI Lecture: Civil society aid as balancing act with Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson

GDI Lecture: Civil society aid as balancing act with Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson

Listen or watch Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson discuss civil society aid as balancing act – navigating between managerial and social transformative principles.

Jelmer Kamstra has been Senior Policy Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in the Civil Society Division since 2015. Starting January 2020, Jelmer has taken up a new position as Senior Researcher at the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Zoe Abrahamson is Bond’s senior funding adviser. She coordinates Bond’s funding stream, acting as conduit between funders and NGOs.
read more…

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