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Jonathan Said

Jonathan Said


Jonathan is a partner at Growth Teams, a not-for-profit supporting governments in African countries and in Indian states with an innovative model to accelerate economic growth and job creation. He is a development economist specializing in industrial policy implementation. For five years he was Technical Director (Africa) for the Tony Blair Institute where he launched its industrialization, agriculture, and human capital development practices while expanding its energy and climate and its center of government and delivery practices across 16 African countries. He spent 8 years serving as an embedded economic advisor in the governments of Liberia, Malawi, and Guyana, during which time he supported these countries to accelerate their agriculture and agro-processing industries while improving their enabling environment through reforms in sectors like trade facilitation, energy and road infrastructure, and education. He spent the first four years of his career working in the United Kingdom. Jonathan has written extensively on the topic of job creation and industrialization in Africa, publishing with the Global Development Institute, the Tony Blair Institute, the Overseas Development Institute, the Pan-African Review, and various media outlets. Jonathan grew up in Malta and read MSc Economics at the University of Warwick.



When Good Policy Meets Bad Politics Thumbnail

When Good Policy Meets Bad Politics: Property Rights, Land Amalgamation, and Urbanization in India

Indian cities are facing challenges due to their low-rise structures and sprawling slums that are projected to increase with the growth of urban populations in the future. To cope with this trend and take advantage of agglomeration externalities, India needs to adopt a more upward, pyramid-like approach with increased density. Although strengthening property rights has been suggested as a solution, India’s fragmented land ownership system makes this option difficult.

Previously, the Indian government used eminent domain to acquire and amalgamate land for industrial or infrastructural use, but this led to significant political opposition in the 2000s. As a result, the 2013 Land Acquisition Act was passed, which narrowed the circumstances under which land could be acquired, increased compensation payments, and extended those payments to non-owners who relied on the land for their livelihoods. While this approach has ensured political acquiescence among rural and slum dwellers, it has created a problem for private businesses that require land for property or industrial development, causing a significant time and cost burden.

This political reality, while necessary for a democratic India, may not be conducive to good economics and may lead to dysfunctional urbanization.

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CCI September Book Club

September Book Club Review

Each month, the CCI team selects a new book to read and discuss together. Our book club selections cover a wide range of topics that are relevant to charter cities, but they are most often related to development, urban issues, and governance. In this ongoing series, reviewers will offer summaries of the books we’ve read and share some of the highlights from our discussions.

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