School of Social and Political Science

Mohammad Amir Anwar

Job Title

Lecturer in African Studies and International Development

Mohammad Amir Anwa photo

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)




Mohammad is a Lecturer in African Studies and International Development. He is also a Fellow of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Digital Economy and Society, and a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford and the School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg. 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. The project examined the geographies, drivers, and effects of Africa’s emerging information economies at a time of changing connectivity and Internet access across the region. As a part of the project, he lead the research on digital outsourcing and gig economy in Africa. To this end, he conducted a year-long fieldwork in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda, conducting in-depth interviews with remote gig workers, call centre agents, business owners, self-employed digital entrepreneurs, social enterprises, private sector associations, government officials, and industry experts. At Oxford, he 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.

His work has appeared in well-regarded peer-reviewed journals, such as Environment and Planning A, Review of African Political Economy, Competition and Change, African Geographical 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


Media Articles/Internet publications

  • Anwar, M. A. (2020) “We work for Uber”: South Africa’s gig drivers left alone at the wheel, African Arguments.
  • ANWAR, M.A. (2019)  Most call centre jobs are a dead end for South Africa’s youthThe Conversation.
  • ANWAR, M.A. (2018)  How Marx predicted the worst effects of the gig economy more than 150 years ago.New Statesman.
  • ANWAR, M.A. (2017)  Obsession with growth won’t help South Africa’s economic recovery.The Conversation.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2017)  White people in South Africa still hold the lion’s share of all forms of capitalThe Conversation.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2016)  Low income and high competition: digital jobs in a neoliberal ageUnion Solidarity International.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2015)  The lesser known story of India’s role in Ethiopian land dealsThe Conversation.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2015)  Why south-south co-operation is a myth when it comes to BRICS and AfricaThe Conversation.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2014)  UN Security Council’s failure stretches from Syria to CrimeaThe Conversation.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2013)  Book Review of: A. Mace (2013) City Suburbs: Placing Suburbia in a Post-suburban World, London: Routledge.Royal Geographical Society, IBG Urban Geography Research Group.
  • Anwar, M.A. (2011)  Book Review of: Banerjee-Guha, S. (2010) Accumulation by Dispossession: Transformative Cities in the new Global Order, SageRoyal Geographical Society, IBG Urban Geography Research Group.

Research interests

Research interests

Globalisation, Economic geography, African political economy, Digital economy, Digital value creation, Future of work, Humans of the machine learning and artificial intelligence, Digital labour, Gig economy, Employment/Unemployment, Inequality and poverty, Global governance, Digital work, Digital ethnography, Labour and labour movements, Mixed methods research in social sciences, Social media and internet technologies, Storytelling and ethnography, Identity politics, Development studies

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
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.
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. 2020 Oct 29;52(7):1269-1291.
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.
Anwar MA, Graham M. Between a rock and a hard place: Freedom, flexibility, precarity and vulnerability in the gig economy in Africa. Competition and Change. 2020 Apr 1;N/A:1-22.
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.