Global Development Institute Blog

2024 marks the 200th anniversary of the University of Manchester, spurring both celebration and reflection on the rich history of the University and the talented individuals it has nurtured. To pay tribute to its notable alumni, the University has launched Bicentenary Way, showcasing those who have shaped its journey since 1824.

Bicentenary Way, located in Brunswick Park opposite the Queen’s Arch, honours celebrities such as Simon Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Lemn Sissay, well-known historical figures, and individuals excelling in their field who embody the University’s values and community spirit. As the University embarks on its third century of teaching, Bicentenary Way will continue to evolve, celebrating the people who make a difference and ensuring that their legacy remains connected to the campus and the city.

GDI is proud to see our work and history reflected by the inclusion of two of our alumni on Bicentenary Way, Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng and Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, as well as Sir Arthur Lewis, who shaped much of what we now know as development economics.

Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng


Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng’s journey with the University began with a fully funded master’s scholarship at GDI. Prior to conducting his masters, Kwame was employed as a Research and Programme Supervisor with The Quantum Group Limited in Accra, Ghana, where he worked in a team responsible for developing and implementing projects across the cocoa value chain.

His impact on the University was substantial, serving as the General Secretary of the Students’ Union, where he focused much of his work on issues of diversity and inclusion. Under his leadership, the Students’ Union saw the historic election of an all-international student executive team.

Kwame’s time at the SU also saw him negotiate the largest rent reduction for student halls in the University’s history and expand hardship funds to better support international students. He also established a master’s scholarship program for ten students from Zimbabwe and Malawi annually, creating new educational opportunities for future generations.


Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng pictured bottom right holding the University of Manchester sign at 2018 GDI Merit Awards


Dr Amani Abou-Zeid


Dr Amani Abou-Zeid graduated from GDI with a PhD in Socio-economic Development in 2001. An international development lead expert, she has been serving Africa in various leading positions for over 30 years, mainly in international organizations including AFDB, UNDP and USAID. In 2017, she was elected as Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union, and was re-elected for a second term in February of 2021.

She has been recognised for her extensive work toward Africa’s integration and the wellbeing of its people, for example mediating between the African Development Bank and Morocco to realise the world’s largest solar energy complex in 2018.

Amani has earned numerous accolades throughout her career, including being named one of Africa’s Most Influential Women on multiple occasions, being decorated by HM King Mohamed VI of Morocco, and being recognised as a World Young Leader by the European Union.

Dr Abou-Zeid’s connection with the University has remained strong, becoming Chair of GDI’s International Advisory Board for the African Cities Research Consortium. In recognition of her achievements, she was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the University in 2022.


An African Cities podcast episode featuring Amani Abou-Zeid in conversation with ACRC’s city of systems lead Seth Schindler


Listen to the above pictured podcast episode with Amani Abou-Zeid here:


Sir Arthur Lewis


Development economist Sir Arthur Lewis also received posthumous recognition on Bicentenary Way. Becoming Britain’s first Black professor at age 33, his contributions have helped shape work within development research and continue to inspire various scholars at GDI, where we operate out of the Arthur Lewis Building on the University of Manchester campus!

Lewis’s ground-breaking work laid the foundation for many modern development theories. His seminal work, “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour” introduced models and theories which sparked valuable debates in development economics that continue to this day. His teachings emphasised the importance of practical, policy-oriented research, which GDI aims to continue by prioritising impact in the work that we do.


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.

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