I work on the politics and geography of development. My main interest is in infrastructure projects, their financing, justification, planning and positive and negative impacts.
I particularly focus on the resurgence of dam building, which despite significant controversy, social, economic and environmental impacts, has increased since the mid-2000s. I analyse the finance, the political rationales and ideologies driving these new dams and shaping how they are built.
This interest in dams has involved the study of electricity. I am interested in the way political rationales, international government and companies and ideologies shape national electricity systems. I study why certain technologies and projects are chosen over others and am increasingly interested in how to undertake a more progressive, just and participatory transition to renewable energy. Thus far, my research on dams and electricity has particularly taken me to Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia.
Connected to this interest in infrastructure and politics in Africa are the 'emerging' or 'rising' powers that are taking an increased role on the continent. China is the major player here and I have been active in the debate over China's role in Africa though leadership of the Oxford University China-Africa Network. My research has focused on the lesser studied powers of India and Brazil. I analyse the rationales and practices for each country's government and the practices of their companies.