Urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa are growing rapidly. While there has been considerable attention paid to the challenges of African mega-cities, the experiences of smaller urban areas have been relatively neglected. Secondary cities, with populations of less than half a million, are absorbing two-thirds of all urban population growth in Africa.
What happens when a vast multinational mining company operates a gas plant situated close to four densely populated villages in rural Bangladesh? How does its presence contribute to local processes of ‘development’? And what do corporate claims of ‘community engagement’ involve? Drawing from author Katy Gardner’s longstanding relationship with the area, Discordant Development reveals the complex and contradictory ways that local people attempt to connect to, and are disconnected by, foreign capital.
This project aims to explore the impact of mining on rural livelihoods in Bangladesh, through two detailed case studies. The first of these involves the extraction of natural gas in Sylhet, an area where long standing transnational migration to the U.K means that social networks, and the social protection which they provide for the poor, take on an international dimension.