He was a professor at the University of Auvergne, and member of CERDI (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International) which he founded in 1976, and director of the Revue d'Economie du Développement.
He is a member of the European Development Research Network (EUDN). He was a member of the United Nations Development Policy Committee (CDP) from 1987 to 2009 and chaired various working groups on the identification of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
He has worked for many international institutions and foreign governments and has published books and nearly 200 articles, mainly on development, in economic journals including China Economic Review, Journal of African Economies, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of Development Economics, Oxford Economic Papers, World Bank Economic Review, World Development, World Economy.
His recent work is mainly about the allocation of official development assistance and vulnerabilities. His latest book Out of the trap. Supporting the least developed countries was launched in New York in November 2019.
In 1992 he received the "El Fasi Prize for French-speaking research".