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International Research Workshop: The Moral Dimensions of Economic Life in Africa  Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne (November 8-9, 2018) co-funded by: Thyssen Foundation (Germany), University of Cologne (Global South Study Centre), and University of Leeds (POLIS).  For decades, mainstream economic analysis has tended to exclude morality from the investigation and understanding of economic life. Yet in reality there are always various moral dimensions at play when it comes to people’s economic thinking, practices and relationships, on one hand, and the structures in which they operate, on the other. In this workshop - organised by Tijo Salverda (Cologne), Cristiano Lanzano (Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala), and Jörg Wiegratz (Leeds) - we will look more closely at this morality-economy nexus, with a particular focus on Africa. Due to their economic and socio-cultural diversity and complexity, African countries are privileged sites to discuss the moral dimensions of economic life. Many economies on...

In a major contribution to roape.net, Zsuzsánna Biedermann analyses the complex reasons behind the largely fruitless diversification efforts in Botswana. Many African countries abundant in non-renewable natural resources experience the harmful effects associated with the extensive role oil, mining or gas extraction plays in their economies. Even if Botswana’s initial development based on diamond mining was spectacular, there is mounting proof that the Botswana Democratic Party - the country’s governing party since independence – has been deeply intertwined with the De Beers diamond mining cartel. Development, industrialisation and diversification remains a frustrating and elusive goal for the country....

Ugandan pop star singer and politician, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, has generated an unprecedented political buzz around the world. Exploring the background to the country’s crisis, Moses Khisa writes how Uganda is a country with endemic socioeconomic problems and exists in a distorted and parasitic capitalist economy. Khisa writes how the government is presided over by the visibly tired president, Yoweri Museveni, who claims weird and even messianic powers....

Nataliya Mykhalchenko reviews a book that describes the devastating impact of tax havens and capital flight for Africa. The book details the intricate relationship between capital flight, global corporations, bank secrecy and the elites, i.e. the power-accumulation nexus. As a proportion of total wealth, Africa is the most afflicted continent in the world. For example, elites on the continent hold approximately USD 500 billion in financial wealth offshore, roughly 30% of total financial wealth held by Africans....

Looking at the cocoa industry in Ghana, Erik Jorgensen and Yukari Kanamori demonstrate how power asymmetry in the private cocoa industry and reduced institutional capacity have added to dependency. The Ghanaian Cocoa industry is an example of the disproportionate appropriation of rents by foreign firms in the downstream segments of the value chain which has not only halted agricultural development, but actually eroded the position of cocoa farmers in the country....

After the manifest failure of microcredit to address poverty in Africa and everywhere else, the international development community has hit upon a new microcredit-related idea that, it claims, will do the job this time around: ‘fin-tech’, i.e. financial technology. In this blogpost Milford Bateman argues fin-tech has the potential to gravely undermine the position of the poor and to increase inequality while, not coincidentally, vastly enriching a narrow elite. ...

Continuing our look at the life of Steve Biko, Heike Becker writes about two extraordinary events. The first was the formation of a Black organisation of student protest in 1968. The South African Student Organisation (SASO) was founded during a meeting exclusively attended by black students. Biko became the new organisation’s first President. The second was the astonishing friendship that developed between Steve Biko and Rick Turner. Together their political and philosophical ideas helped shape the massive strike wave in Durban in the early 1970s. Their murder – Biko in September 1977, and Turner in 1978 – put an end to the conversation between Black Consciousness and anti-capitalist notions of ‘participatory democracy’, which provided a brief glimpse of the possibilities of another South Africa. By Heike Becker In 2015 students at South African universities rose up in a mass revolt. Young women and men born after...

On the anniversary of Steve Biko’s murder, ROAPE’s Remi Adekoya speaks to South African scholar and activist Mosa Phadi. Phadi reflects on the legacy of Biko’s radical and important thought, but also discusses how he did not consider cohesive alternatives that could now serve as a counter to neoliberal ideas. In a wide-ranging interview Phadi also looks at the political and economic crisis in South Africa, the Economic Freedom Fighters, the failures of the ANC and the possibilities of a solution in the militancy and consciousness of working-class struggle....

Free Access to ROAPE Connections Special Issue: Radical Political Economy and Industrialisation ROAPE held the first of three workshops in Ghana, Accra on ‘Radical political economy and industrialisation in Africa’, 13–14 November 2017. Our publisher Taylor and Francis have made the special issue from the workshop accessible until the end of the year. This Debate Special Issue from Volume 46, Issue 56 discusses the initiative of holding the Africa-based ROAPE meetings, why they are important and how they relate to historic socio-economic transformations, the most significant of which remains the great Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, whose centenary month coincided with the Accra workshop. This is the first of the workshops which ROAPE has sponsored across the continent in cooperation with local organisations. A similar version of the Accra meeting, held in Dar es Salaam in April of this year, will appear in a forthcoming issue. These workshops deliberately avoid an...

Introducing her new book released this week, Gabrielle Lynch provides a radical analysis of the mechanisms of transitional justice. Looking at the case of Kenya, Lynch argues that truth commissions which hope to achieve truth, justice and reconciliation also require ongoing political struggles, and substantive socio-economic and political change. While reconciliation and justice may be goals which truth commission can recommend, and sometimes contribute to, they cannot be expected to achieve them. ...