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We bring together five researchers who are speaking at the European Conference on African Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss capitalism, money and commercialisation. Marine Al Dahdah explains that sub-Saharan Africa has been at the epicentre of mobile money and an experimental terrain for the mobile economy. Adam Rodgers Johns argues that the entry of capital into Tanzanian football has been embraced by local actors as a positive move towards greater professionalisation and legitimacy, but all is not as it seems. Olivier Graefe and Antje Schlottmann look at the complexity of commercialisation of wildlife in Namibia and the implications for humans, nature, and animals. Fatimah Kelleher argues that consumerist interpretations of market access as a panacea for African women's income inequality present ethical concerns that need an urgent feminist response. All authors look at the commercialisation of previously-less-commercialised sectors as  key developments in neoliberal Africa. ...

The rise of a global technology industry to support financial services, known as fin-tech, has grown enormously in Africa in the last decade. Across the continent many commentators have proclaimed fin-tech as the solution to poverty and development. Examining the case of Kenya’s celebrated fin-tech model, M-Pesa, Milford Bateman, Maren Duvendack and Nicholas Loubere reveal a flawed system that is not an answer to poverty, despite the wild claims of some academic commentators. Quite the contrary, fin-tech offers Africa a further case study of how contemporary capitalism continues to under-develop Africa....

Reviewing a major new book on Uganda’s neoliberal transformation, Daniel Lumonya writes that the volume is ‘a deep and comprehensive engagement with the dynamics of development in contemporary Uganda.’ Speaking at the launch of the book in Kampala in April, Lumonya was joined by one of the editors of the book and an audience of scholars and activists from Uganda. The launch was filmed for roape.net and the footage available in the blogpost....

Chinedu Chukwudinma argues that the proliferation of strikes before and after the downfall of Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika suggests that only the working class has the power to lead Algerian society to liberation. Chukwudinma looks at the history of workers’ struggles and assesses the possibilities for the future. ...

In a blogpost drawing attention to the large number of suicides by immolation in Tunisia, Habib Ayeb explains that there has been an average of between 250 to 300 suicides per year since 2011. These desperate political acts are intended to draw attention to the dire social and political conditions experienced by millions of Tunisians in the years since the revolution (and the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010). Translated by Max Ajl, the blogpost looks at the origins of the Tunisian revolution, and broken promises. ...

Farai Chipato discusses the massive influx of donor money into Zimbabwe’s civil society in the 2000s which created ‘briefcase NGOs’, where opportunistic ‘entrepreneurs’ attempted to draw down funding for profit, and the expansion of existing NGOs, creating employment opportunities for a growing number of careerists. Before long, the NGO sector became one of the main sectors sustaining Zimbabwe’s urban middle class, which included both junior staff and a layer of management staff who accumulated significant amounts of wealth and property. Activists from the 1990s complain of this turn from activist to professional in civil society organisations, which meant that civil society is increasingly just another industry to make a career in....

ROAPE’s Laura Mann introduces the Citing Africa Podcast Series that explores different aspects of knowledge production in and about African countries. Mann asks some profound questions about Western Africanists and their so-called expertise – how can we be sure that the research, conference presentations and journal articles produced by European and North American researchers are not based on flawed, flimsy and problematic research? The series is an important resource for young researchers from Africa....

To discuss the extraordinary events in Sudan and Algeria that have shaken these countries – and the continent – to the core in recent months, roape.net has asked some of our contributors to debate the significance and meaning of these revolutions. Both countries are confronted by a challenge: are the movements pacified in the interests of the local and global ruling classes or do the revolutionary movements successfully take-on and overturn these deep-rooted and brutal states. The contributions below look at the challenges faced by these revolutions  and the possibilities of creating lasting and fundamental transformation....