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Dr Ben Lampert

Profile summary

Professional biography

Since completing his PhD in human geography in 2010, Ben has been based in the Development Policy and Practice Group at The Open University, first as a Research Fellow and currently as a Lecturer in International Development.

Research interests

Ben’s research interests are primarily in the fields of migration, development and African studies. He is particularly interested in the relationship between human mobility and development, especially in terms of how migrants and diaspora communities contribute to processes of change in their countries of residence and origin. He has explored this relationship principally in African contexts and has held a particular research interest in Nigeria since teaching at a university there in 2000. His MSc research examined the everyday practices of British colonial civil servants in Nigeria and his PhD research analysed the role of London-based Nigerian diaspora organisations in development in Nigeria.

Ben’s current work explores the nature and development outcomes of contemporary migration within and to Africa. This work builds on research conducted with Prof. Giles Mohan on a 2-year ESRC-funded project on the social, political and economic impacts of Chinese migration to Ghana and Nigeria. With OU and international colleagues, Ben is a co-investigator on the GCRF-ESRC-funded project 'Migration for Inclusive African Growth'. This examines the implications for growth in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria of a range of internal, regional and international 'South-South' and 'North-South' migration flows.

Teaching interests

Ben teaches on the OU's postgraduate programme in Global Development, which offers a Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma as well as a full Master's degree.

Within this, he co-chairs the presentation of DD870 Understanding global development and DD872 Researching global development. Ben was also the co-chair and then structure and content lead for the production of DD871 Key challenges in global development. He also supported the production of the free online OpenLearn course Introducing global development, which serves as an open access introduction to DD870 and the wider OU postgraduate programme in Global Development.

As a research student supervisor, Ben welcomes PhD research proposals in the fields of migration, development and African studies, particularly in relation to the development role of migrants and diasporas, the politics of development in Nigeria, and the implications of the ‘rising powers’ for African development.

Ben is currently supervising the following PhD student:

Francesca Masciaga, ‘Chinese Non-profit Engagement in Wildlife Conservation in Kenya: New Dynamics in China-Africa Relations and African Conservation?’ (with Dr. Charlotte Cross and Prof. Shonil Bhagwat)

Ben has supervised the following PhD students to completion:

Daniel Amankona, 'Socio-ecological Impacts and Adaptations Arising from Chinese-led Infrastructure Developments in Africa: A Case Study of the Bui Hydropower Dam in Ghana' (with Dr. Kevin Collins and Prof. Giles Mohan)

Abiola George, 'Return Migration and Entrepreneurship: The Role of Highly Skilled Women in Nigeria's Technology Services Sector' (with Prof. Giles Mohan and Dr. Craig Walker)

Jamila Elhag Hassan, 'Social Remittance Acquistion and Gender Ideologies Among Sudanese Migrants in Glasgow' (with Prof. Giles Mohan)

Alois Nyanhete, Mobile Money-enabled International Remittances and Financial Inclusion among Zimbabwean Migrants in the United Kingdom (with Prof. Nicola Yeates and Dr. Cristina Santos)

Chantal Radley, ‘Tracing Diaspora and Development over Time: UK-based Chileans and their Transnational Engagements with Chile from the 1970s to the Present’ (with Prof. Giles Mohan and Prof. Parvati Raghuram)

Externally funded projects

Migration for Inclusive African Growth
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Sep 201831 Jan 2022ESRC Economic and Social Research Council

A new wave of economic dynamism in Africa has created a pressing challenge of translating this elite-based, resource-driven growth into more inclusive growth. Africa’s growth has intensified contemporary migration within and to the continent, with important implications for sustainable and inclusive growth in both ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ contexts. Therefore, the aim of the project is to understand how and to what extent contemporary migrant communities are taking advantage of, and contributing to, sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa. Despite being an important channel for trade, investment and skills development, little is known about the nature and potentially transformative outcomes of these diverse migration flows. In addressing this, the novelty of this project is threefold: (1) in analysing the impacts of migration through the lens of inclusive growth, (2) in exploring internal, regional and intercontinental migration together and moving the study of migration and development beyond South-to-North flows, and (3) in co-designing policy responses and capacity-building resources for optimising the contribution of migration to inclusive African growth. This proposal arises out of an ESRC GCRF network grant that has identified, through a series of workshops hosted by the African partners, that our knowledge of the size, motivations, organisation and impacts of recent flows of migrants and their relations with host communities is largely anecdotal, while official data is fragmented, inaccurate or partial. This proposal will produce the first multi-country comparative study of these groups in Africa, with a focus on how and with what impact these groups operate in the manufacturing and service sectors of four African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Mozambique) that are all on the OECD DAC list.


Editorial: China’s impacts on Africa’s development (2016-06)
Park, Yoon Jung; Lampert, Ben and Robertson, Winslow
African Review of Economics and Finance, 8(1) (pp. 3-11)

Collective transnational power and its limits: London-based Nigerian organisations, development at ‘home’ and the importance of local agency and the ‘internal diaspora’ (2014-04)
Lampert, Ben
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(5) (pp. 829-846)

Sino-African encounters in Ghana and Nigeria: from conflict to conviviality and mutual benefit (2014)
Lampert, Ben and Mohan, Giles
Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 43(1) (pp. 9-39)

Negotiating China: reinserting African agency into China-Africa relations (2013-01)
Mohan, Giles and Lampert, Ben
African Affairs, 112(446) (pp. 92-110)

Diaspora and development? London-based Nigerian organisations and the transnational politics of socio-economic status and gender (2012)
Lampert, Ben
Development Policy Review, 30(2) (pp. 149-167)

Diaspora and development? Nigerian organizations in London and the transnational politics of belonging (2009-04)
Lampert, Ben
Global Networks, 9(2) (pp. 162-184)

Chinese Migrants and Africa's Development: New Imperialists or Agents of Change? (2014-06-12)
Mohan, Giles; Lampert, Ben; Tan-Mullins, May and Chang, Daphne
ISBN : 9781780329161 | Publisher : Zed Books | Published : London

The (im)possibility of Southern theory: the opportunities and challenges of cultural brokerage in co-producing knowledge about China-Africa relations (2019-05-24)
Mohan, Giles; Lampert, Ben; Tan-Mullins, May and Atta-Ankomah, Richmond
In: Mawdsley, Emma; Fourie, Elsje and Nauta, Wiebe eds. Researching South-South Development Cooperation: The Politics of Knowledge Production. Rethinking Development (pp. 12-26)
ISBN : 9780429459146 | Publisher : Routledge

A transformative presence? Chinese migrants as agents of change in Ghana and Nigeria (2018-10-25)
Lampert, Ben and Mohan, Giles
In: Giese, Karsten and Marfaing, Laurence eds. Chinese and African Entrepreneurs: Social Impacts of Interpersonal Encounters (pp. 147-169)
ISBN : 978-90-04-38742-3 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden

Negotiating China: Reinserting African Agency into China-Africa Relations (2017-05-25)
Mohan, Giles and Lampert, Ben
In: Cheeseman, Nic; Whitfield, Lindsay and Death, Carl eds. The African Affairs Reader: Key Texts in Politics, Development and International Relations (pp. 336-353)
ISBN : 9780198794295 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Les migrants chinois, acteurs de changement au Ghana et au Nigeria: une présence transformatrice ? (2016)
Lampert, Ben and Mohan, Giles
In: Giese, Karsten and Marfaing, Laurence eds. Entrepreneurs africains et chinois. Les impacts sociaux d’une rencontre particulière (pp. 207-236)
Publisher : Karthala | Published : Paris

Making Space for African Agency in China-Africa Engagements: Ghanaian and Nigerian Patrons Shaping Chinese Enterprise (2015-09)
Lampert, Ben and Mohan, Giles
In: Gadzala, Aleksandra W. ed. Africa and China: How Africans and Their Governments are Shaping Relations with China (pp. 109-126)
ISBN : 978-1-4422-3775-9 | Publisher : Rowman & Littlefield | Published : Lanham

Chinese migrants in Africa: bilateral and informal governance of a poorly understood South-South flow (2013)
Mohan, Giles and Lampert, Ben
In : Regional Governance of Migration and Socio-Political Rights: Institutions, Actors and Processes (14-15 Jan 2013, Geneva, Switzerland)