Capitalism in Africa Archives - ROAPE
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Capitalism in Africa

In recent years governments across Southern Africa have targeted foreign investors, increased taxation on mining companies and enacted indigenisation. In this blogpost, Alex Caramento and Richard Saunders investigate the social forces currently shaping resource nationalism in the region. They hope to initiate a discussion on the various responses to extractive capitalism in Southern Africa. ...

Lena Grace Anyuolo describes the hunger games of capitalism in Kenya. In this diabolical world where the sponsors of jobs and healthcare are corporations, or rich individuals and media personalities who have the power to deliver life from poverty or fund-raise for a lifesaving medical procedure. Anyuolo is scathing about a form of existence where life or death depends on philanthropy or whether or not your story is worthy of a prime-time slot on TV. ...

Ethiopia invests a higher percentage of its GDP in public infrastructure than nearly every other country in the world.  In this blogpost, Daniel Mains argues that the construction of infrastructure is a site for understanding the tense relationship between citizen and state in Ethiopia. In a contribution to the debate on Capitalism in Africa hosted by roape.net, Mains argues that an analytical method is needed that can examine these processes without assuming a capitalist society that is unified by a singular mode of economic production. Such an approach enables researchers to examine multiple, sometimes contradictory, economic dynamics....

After spending several months with gamblers in Kenya, Mario Schmidt finds that many see their activity as a legitimate and transparent attempt to make ends meet in an economy that does not offer them any other stable employment or income. In a blogpost co-published with The Elephant, gambling Schmidt argues can be seen as an act against an economy in which wealth is not based upon merit but upon social relations and where profit and losses are distributed in a non-transparent way through corruption, inheritance and theft....

In a major analysis of current developments at the level of the world and multinational market of late capitalism, Esteban Mora grapples with the phenomenon of so called ‘right wing populism’ not only in the West, but in Third World regions as well. He asks if Africa’s decades of trauma now confront metropolitan and central capitalist countries, as the road where they are heading....

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....

In a contribution to our debate on capitalism in Africa, Ben Radley writes that the involvement of TNC-led mining in the Congo has undermined the productivity and development of locally-led artisanal mining. Researching artisanal gold mining in South Kivu, Radley argues that real progress in the sector has been led and managed by a local Congolese capitalist class through a process of technological assimilation, capital formation and mechanisation. These processes are being eroded by international capital, backed-up by the state and police. ...

Adam Rodgers Johns explores the commercialisation of football in Africa. He argues that at the professional level the continent’s most popular sport provides us with fertile grounds for the analysis of capitalism in Africa. By Adam Rodgers Johns The trend towards the commercialisation of football is not limited to the most powerful and competitive leagues in Western Europe but affects all regions of the world, including Africa. In recent years, the commercialisation of elite level professional football has affected the world’s most popular sport at unprecedented levels - from ownership, sponsorship, ticket sales to TV licensing. There are numerous ways in which Africa is linked to the global business of football. For example, the huge popularity of European, specifically English football, has significant commercial implications in terms of broadcasting revenue, merchandise and gambling. There are a number of examples from the African continent where there has...