School of Social and Political Science

Mohammad Amir Anwar

Job Title

Lecturer in African Studies and International Development; Programme Director MSc International Development

Mohammad Amir Anwa photo

Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

Globalisation, Economic Geography, Digital Economy, Digital Labour, Platforms, Humans of the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Political Economy of AI, Social Movements, Employment/Unemployment, Digital Value Creation, Future of Work, Inequality and Poverty, African Political Economy, Digital Ethnography, Social Media and Internet Technologies, Storytelling and Ethnography.

PhD Supervision

He welcomes queries from prospective PhD students on research interests outlined above. Please check our PhD programmes:
PhD International Development.

Ph.D African Studies.



Mohammad is a Lecturer in African Studies and International Development. At Edinburgh, he teaches on a range of Postgraduate (both online and on campus) and Undergraduate courses.
Course Convenor:

  • Work Futures: Edinburgh Futures Institute.
  • Contemporary Issues in International Development: School of Social and Political Science.
  • International Development- Research Design and Practice: School of Social and Political Science.

In the past he has convened the courses: Politics and Theories of International Development and Governance, Development, and Poverty in Africa, and Researching International Development. As a testament to his teaching excellence, he has been awarded the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (UK).

He is a Senior Research Fellow (Honorary) at the British Institute for Eastern Africa and Senior Research Associate at the School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg. He was also a Fellow of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Digital Economy and Society

He holds a Ph.D in Geography from Trinity College Dublin. He has extensive experience of conducting research both in India and Africa.

Before coming to Edinburgh, Mohammad was a Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, where he was a part of the ERC-funded project Geonet: investigating the changing connectivities and potentials of Sub-Saharan Africa’s knowledge economy. As a part of the project, he lead the research on digital outsourcing and gig economy in Africa. At Oxford, he also taught a Masters course on Economic Development in Digital Capitalism.

Before joining the OII he worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). At UJ, his work examined at the political economy of India’s engagements in Africa. He also briefly worked as a Research Assistant at Trinity College Dublin, for an Irish Research Council funded project on the role of information and communication technologies in enterprise development and industrial change in Africa.

He is the author of 'The Digital Continent', (2022) published by Oxford University Press. He has 20 peer-reviewed publications including highly-reputed journals, such as Environment and Planning A, Competition and Change, Gender and Development, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Review of African Political Economy, Journal of Modern African Studies, International Labour Review, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, First Monday, and Urban Forum. Peer-reviewed book chapters have been published by Sage and Cambridge University Press. He regularly contributes to public debate through blogs, articles for online news sources, and radio interviews. His articles have appeared in New Statesman and The Conversation. 

Mohammad has received funding the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Foundation of Urban and Regional Studies. His PhD was funded through Trinity Research Studentship, Trinity College, University of Dublin.


Journal articles

Peer-Reviewed Chapters

  • Etieno, E., Stein, M. Anwar, M. A. (2020) Ride Ride Hailing Drivers Left Alone at the Wheel: Experiences from South Africa and Kenya, in Carmody, P., McCann, G., Colleran, C., O’Halloran, C. (eds) COVID-19 in the Global South: Impacts and Responses, Bristol University Press, Bristol.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M. and Anwar, M.A. (2020)  "Minimum Wages for Online Labour Platforms? Regulating the Global Gig Economy." In: 'The Digital Transformation of Labor (Open Access): Automation, the Gig Economy and Welfare Larsson, A. and Teigland, R. (eds) Routledge Studies in Labour EconomicsLondonRoutledge. pp. 74-79.
  • Graham, M. and Anwar, M.A. (2018)  "Digital Labour" In: Digital Geographies Ash, J., Kitchin, R. and Leszczynski, A. (eds)SAGE177-187.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2018)  "Connecting South Africa: ICTs, Uneven Development and Poverty Debates." In: The Geography of South Africa: Contemporary Changes and New Directions, Knight, J. and Rogerson, C. (eds) World Regional Geography Book SeriesSpringer.
  • Graham, M. and Anwar, M.A. (2018)  "Two models for a fairer sharing economy" In: The Cambridge Handbook of Law and Regulation of the Sharing Economy, Davidson, N., Infranca, J. and Finck, M. (eds)New YorkCambridge University Press. pp. 328-340.

Non-Peer Reviewed

  • Graham, M. and Anwar, M.A. (2020)  "The global gig economy: towards a planetary labour markets?" In: 'The Digital Transformation of Labor: Automation, the Gig Economy and Welfare' Larsson, A. and Teigland, R. (eds) Routledge Studies in Labour EconomicsLondonRoutledge. pp. 213-234.
  • Anwar, M. (2013)  Book Review, Mace, A (2013) City Suburbs: Placing Suburbia in a Post-suburban World, London: Routledge. RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research GroupRoyal Geographical Society, Urban Geography Research Group.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2011)  Book Review, Banarjee-Guha (2010) Accumulation by Dispossession: Transformative Cities in the New Global Order, New Delhi: Sage. RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research Group.Royal Geographical Society, Urban Geography Research Group.

Media Articles/Internet publications

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Anwar MA, Brukwe K. We endure because we need money: Everyday violence, Covid-19, and domestic workers in South Africa. Canadian Journal of Development Studies. 2023 Feb 17. Epub 2023 Feb 17. doi: 10.1080/02255189.2023.2166024
Anwar MA. Platforms of inequality: Gender dynamics of digital labour in Africa. Gender and Development. 2022 Dec 7;30(3):747-764. doi: 10.1080/13552074.2022.2121059
Anwar MA, Otieno E, Stein M. Locked In, logged out: Pandemic and ride-hailing in South Africa and Kenya. The Journal of Modern African Studies. 2022 Nov 14;1-22. Epub 2022 Nov 14. doi: 10.1017/S0022278X22000234
Anwar MA, Odeo J, Otieno E. ‘There is No Future in it’: Pandemic and ride hailing hustle in Africa. International Labour Review. 2022 Apr 22. Epub 2022 Apr 22. doi: 10.1111/ilr.12364
Anwar MA, Graham M. The Digital Continent: Placing Africa in Planetary Networks of Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022. 260 p. doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198840800.001.0001
Anwar MA, Shakeel A. Taking the bull by its horns: The political economic logics of new farm laws and agrarian dissent in India. Contemporary South Asia. 2021 Nov 10. Epub 2021 Nov 10. doi: 10.1080/09584935.2021.1995328
Anwar MA, Graham M. Hidden transcripts of the gig economy: Labour agency and the new art of resistance among African gig workers. Environment and Planning A (EPA). 2020 Oct 29;52(7):1269-1291. Epub 2019 Dec 22. doi: 10.1177/0308518X19894584
Otieno E, Stein M, Anwar MA. Ride-hailing drivers left alone at the wheel: Reflections from South Africa and Kenya. In Carmody P, McCann G, Colleran C, O’Halloran C, editors, COVID-19 in the Global South: Impacts and Responses. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 2020
Anwar MA, Graham M. Digital labour at economic margins: African workers and the global information economy. Review of African Political Economy. 2020 Apr 20. Epub 2020 Apr 20. doi: 10.1080/03056244.2020.1728243
Anwar MA, Graham M. Between a rock and a hard place: Freedom, flexibility, precarity and vulnerability in the gig economy in Africa. Competition & Change. 2020 Apr 1;N/A:1-22. Epub 2020 Apr 1. doi: 10.1177/1024529420914473
Graham M, Anwar MA. The global gig economy: Toward a planetary labor market. In Larsson A, Teigland R, editors, The Digital Transformation of Labor: Automation, the Gig Economy and Welfare. 1st ed. London: Routledge. 2019. p. 213-234. (Routledge Studies in Labour Economics). doi: 10.4324/9780429317866-13
Wood AJ, Graham M, Anwar MA. Minimum wages for online labor platforms? Regulating the global gig economy. In Larsson A, Teigland R, editors, The Digital Transformation of Labor: Automation, the Gig Economy and Welfare. 1st ed. London: Routledge. 2019. p. 74-79. (Routledge Studies in Labour Economics). doi: 10.4324/9780429317866-4
Anwar MA, Graham M. Does economic upgrading lead to social upgrading in contact centers? Evidence from South Africa. African Geographical Review. 2019;38(3):209-226. Epub 2019 Apr 14. doi: 10.1080/19376812.2019.1589730
Graham M, Anwar MA. Labour. In Ash J, Kitchin R, Leszczynski A, editors, Digital Geographies. SAGE. 2018. p. 177-187 doi: 10.4135/9781529793536.n16
Anwar MA. Connecting South Africa: ICTs, uneven development and poverty debates. In Knight J, Rogerson CM, editors, The Geography of South Africa: Contemporary Changes and New Directions. 1st ed. Springer. 2018. p. 261-267. (World Regional Geography Book Series). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-94974-1_28
Graham M, Anwar MA. Two models for a fairer sharing economy. In Davidson NM, Finck M, Infranca JJ, editors, The Cambridge Handbook of the Law of the Sharing Economy. Cambridge University Press. 2018. p. 328-340. (Cambridge Law Handbooks). doi: 10.1017/9781108255882.025
Anwar MA, Carmody P. Bringing globalization to the countryside: Special Economic Zones in India. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. 2016 May 26;37(2):121-138. doi: 10.1111/sjtg.12146
Anwar MA. Indian foreign direct investments in Africa: A geographical perspective. Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series. 2014 Dec 1;26:35-49. doi: 10.2478/bog-2014-0043
Anwar MA, Carmody P, Surborg B, Corcoran A. The diffusion and impacts of information and communication technology on tourism in the Western Cape, South Africa. Urban Forum. 2014 Dec;25(4):531-545. Epub 2013 Oct 2. doi: 10.1007/s12132-013-9210-4
Anwar MA. New modes of industrial manufacturing: India's experience with special economic zones. Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series. 2014 Jun 1;24(24):7-25. doi: 10.2478/bog-2014-0011