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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....

Action for Southern Africa’s report, The Money Drain: How Trade Misinvoicing and Unjust Debt Undermine Economic and Social Rights in Southern Africa, was recently launched at the Southern African Development Community People’s Summit in Dar es Salaam. For roape.net, the report’s author, Sunit Bagree, outlines some of the actions that the UK government must take in order to end these damaging financial outflows....

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....

Twenty years ago today a major new political movement emerged in Zimbabwe. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was founded at a mass rally on 11 September 1999, in the capital Harare. At the time it marked the high-point of popular struggles across the continent and it was the first time since independence in 1980 that the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, was seriously threatened. Farai Chipato celebrates both the achievements of the MDC and examines its tragic and calamitous mistakes. ...

In the first of a series of blogposts on the extraordinary revolutions we have seen across Africa this year, Emma Wilda Botta examines the roots of the uprisings in Sudan. After decades of repression, the Sudanese people rose up in 2018-19, but the compromises that have temporarily pacified the country’s towns and cities, rest on a set of acute contradictions....

Recently the Financial Times published an investigation carried out by their data analysis team, which confirmed the findings that have been published on roape.net on poverty in Rwanda over several years. Of all the countries in the world for which there is data, only South Sudan has experienced a faster increase in poverty over the past decade. Rwanda’s official poverty statistics are verifiably false. The government, supported by the World Bank, is involved in a tragic debacle in which the poor are the real victims. ...

Discussing the extraordinary work of the Guyanese activist and historian Walter Rodney, Chinedu Chukwudinma describes how Rodney’s work remains a priceless weapon of theory and history that restores the dignity of African people. However, this blogpost takes issue with Andy Higginbottom’s review of Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa on roape.net and argues that Rodney’s version of dependency theory presents a flawed analysis of imperialism....

In this review of Peter Cole’s comparative study of port workers in Durban and San Francisco Bay, Dockworker Power, Peter Limb assesses the combination of labour, comparative and global history framed by the political economy of containerization which makes this book timely and worthy of deep reflection. The book’s author insists on the relevance of these dockworker struggles for the present and future, how workers can change their conditions, and the world, which is why the book is useful not just to scholars but also to workers, trade unionists and social activists more broadly. ...

In an interview with Mondli Hlatshwayo, ROAPE's Leo Zeilig asks about his activism and research on the South African working class, precarious labour and unions. Mondli, who has just won ROAPE’s Ruth First Prize, argues that precariousness is as old as capitalism itself and it is only the collective strength of workers in unions, or outside the formal union structures, that can push back the frontiers of precariousness....