GDI academic awarded two prestigious research fellowships for project on African Political Economy

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Dr Pritish Behuria , Associate Professor in Politics, Governance, and Development at the Global Development Institute, has been awarded two prestigious grants for a project entitled ’Varieties of African Capitalisms: The Contemporary Vulnerabilities of Developmentalism in a Neoliberal Global Political Economy’.

The grants include The British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship and The Leverhulme Research Fellowship - both highly competitive awards designed to aid experienced researchers in undertaking extensive projects and promoting public engagement within the humanities and social sciences.

Dr Behuria says: "I am so thankful to the British Academy and Leverhulme for awarding me with research fellowships. I am very grateful to have this recognition for my research. In the next year, I hope to make the most of this opportunity to fully dedicate myself to publishing my research based on over a decade of fieldwork. I am also extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to speak to me during my research and who has supported my research over the years."

Dr Behuria is a political economist whose interests broadly centre on the political economy of development under contemporary globalisation. Set to begin in September 2024, he will dedicate his time to writing up several years of fieldwork examining state-business relations, industrial policy, and finance in Eastern and Southern Africa. More specifically, the project will highlight how precarious domestic state-business relations and the increasing control of service economies by rentier interests have combined to constrain potential diversification strategies within the regions.

In so doing, the project will intervene in existing debates surrounding late development. As Dr Behuria explains: "Much existing social science scholarship draws lessons from European and East Asian experiences. As a result, they may deprioritise or overlook how our contemporary global political economy - characterised by decades of market-led reforms - is re-shaping the challenge of catch-up development for many countries in the Global South. The project will go some way to addressing this gap, developing our understanding of how contemporary capitalism re-shapes prospects for developmentalism in Eastern and Southern Africa."

Relevant publications:

The Curious Case of Domestic Capitalists in Africa: Towards a political economy of Diversified Business Groups

The Political Economy of a Tax Haven: The Case of Mauritius

The Political Economy of Reviving Industrial Policy in Uganda

Learning from Role Models in Rwanda: Incoherent Emulation in the Construction of a Neoliberal Developmental State

The Domestic Political Economy of Upgrading in Global Value Chains: How Politics shapes Pathways of Upgrading in Rwanda’s Coffee Sector