Changing Global Geographies of Power and Development

Director: Dr. Emma Mawdsley, Department of Geography and Newnham College, Cambridge

This project emerged from a joint project first formulated by the Society for South Asian Studies and the British Institute in Eastern Africa. The project has been supported by a grant-in-aid from BASIS, supplemented by funds from Cambridge.

The project contributes significantly to what is presently a rather limited knowledge base, by exploring contemporary developments and emerging trends in relations between India, Kenya and Tanzania. The historical context of colonial and postcolonial relations provide a critical basis within which the study is located, and an essential foundation to understanding the more recent flows and interactions which have followed India’s increasingly confident emergence as a global political and economic actor. Western and African governments, foreign policy analysts, the private sector, civil society organisations, and ordinary people – as consumers, workers and citizens – are having to accommodate to emerging shifts in global economic and diplomatic centres of gravity. India, as one of the two main ‘Asian Drivers’, is very much at the centre of these challenges and opportunities. However, at present the focus is fixed firmly on China, particularly in terms of Africa, with relatively little research into India’s role and impacts. This research has relevance to a number of current academic and policy debates within the UK, Africa and India, including:

  • Realist, liberal and constructivist international political relations models of challenge and resistance to the rising Asian powers and contemporary South-South relations.
  • Competing political economy models of Africa’s positioning in the world economy, and the extent to which various countries are witnessing structural change or not in response to growing South-South interactions.
  • Claims that India is a particularly suitable partner for new models of African development given its advantages and experiences in ‘Triple A technologies’, namely appropriate, adaptable and affordable.
  • Discussions over changing legal and cultural identities in a globalizing world.

The output of the project is the following publication:
Mawdsley, Emma, and McCann, Gerard (eds.) India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power. Pambazuka Press, Oxford. 2011.

If anyone is interested in any aspect of the work, please contact Dr Emma Mawdsley (