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.

Kenya’s flood evictions may violate the law

Kenya’s flood evictions may violate the law

Published 17/05/2024 in The Conversation

Recent floods in Kenya have left at least 270 people dead, displaced more than 200,000 and destroyed property, infrastructure and livelihoods across the country. In Nairobi, hundreds of people in informal settlements were left homeless and thousands were displaced. And now, the government has been evicting people from flood-prone areas.

Smith Ouma is a legal expert with a focus on urban governance. His research has covered land and tenure rights in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Ouma to share his thoughts on the government’s response to the flooding in Nairobi’s informal settlements and how it can be improved.

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The Global Development Institute at the Development Studies Association Conference 2024

The Global Development Institute at the Development Studies Association Conference 2024

Academics from across GDI will head down to London next month to participate in the highly anticipated Development Studies Association Conference 2024, which is taking place at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, between Wednesday 26th June and Friday 28th June.

This year’s theme is ‘Social justice and development in a polarising world’, and speakers across a range of disciplines and specialities will explore how increasing political polarisation – both at the global and national level – is affecting debates surrounding social justice, global development, inequality and marginalisation, and much more in between.

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Beyond ‘welfare state’ idealism: Is it time for a general theory of social protection?

Beyond ‘welfare state’ idealism: Is it time for a general theory of social protection?

By Armando Barrientos, Professor Emeritus of Poverty and Social Justice at the Global Development Institute

Discussions surrounding how Latin American states can support less advantaged citizens have often looked to European ‘welfare states’ as exemplary models for reducing inequality and tackling poverty. Chile’s young President Gabriel Boric, for example, ran an election campaign built on promises to dismantle neoliberalism through increased public spending and ‘welfare state’ provisions, among other things.

In some ways, it’s easy to see why the ‘welfare state’ model is appealing. Nordic countries, for example, are often praised for their universalist approach, providing a strong financial safety net for citizens, as well as promoting equal opportunities through well-funded public services.

But what if ‘welfare states’ represent the exception to the rule when it comes to supporting less advantaged people throughout the world? What if the uneven nature of capitalist development means Latin American states cannot usefully implement some of Europe’s tried-and-tested welfare mechanisms? This article explores how theorists of social protection can better understand and address such a problem.

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We all have to become better economists

We all have to become better economists

International Conference on Land Grabbing 2024, Bogotá, Colombia

by Caroline Cornier
Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

From the 19th to the 21st of March 2024, Colombia’s prestigious Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia hosted the International Conference on Land Grabbing. The country’s first leftist, land reform-pushing government was happy to be the host.

The Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) first convened this conference in 2011, against the background of the financial crisis’ repercussions in the food, land and energy sectors. LDPI is supported collectively by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Cornell University, City University of New York, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape and the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. More than 10 years later, at a time when the world faces enhanced social, political and environmental crises, the conference, co-organised by the Journal of Peasant Studies, World Development, Antipode, Globalizations, and Análisis Político, aimed to investigate new evolutions within land grabbing.

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What can GDI researchers tell us about poverty dynamics in Bangladesh? 

What can GDI researchers tell us about poverty dynamics in Bangladesh? 

Written by Skyla Baily 

Bangladesh frequently garners attention as an example of development success, with extensive literature exploring its poverty dynamics and underlying drivers. In just over half a century since gaining independence, the nation has managed to more than halve its poverty rate and sustain almost consistent year-on-year growth. Building on its success, the country is now increasing investment in energy, connectivity, and transport whilst prioritising climate change action as it endeavours to continue its growth sustainably.

But what impact have recent world events had on this growth, and what does it look like for people at a household level?

In recent weeks, multiple GDI researchers have shared their work on Bangladesh’s poverty dynamics. In this blog, we take a look at some of the key ideas put forward by PhD researcher Isaac López-Moreno Flores and Prof David Fielding and Dr Upasak Das, respectively.

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What is it like to study Global Development at undergraduate level?

What is it like to study Global Development at undergraduate level?

The start of the academic year 2023/24 marked an exciting milestone for the Global Development Institute, as we welcomed the first cohort of undergraduates enrolled in our brand-new BSc in Global Development course. Designed to equip students with the tools to promote a socially just world, the course has attracted a wide array of young people looking to pursue rewarding careers.

So, how are the new undergraduates getting on? First-year Chi-Chi Ojigbani has been blogging about her experiences over the past few months, offering valuable insights into the life of a Development Studies student. We’ve selected a few highlights below…

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