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ROAPE Blog

Our Blog

ROAPE’s blog hosts short articles to highlight developments on the continent and comment on the dynamics of protest, shifting patterns of political economy and issues of historical concern for the journal. We welcome submissions for short articles between 800 and 1,800 words.

Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is a masterpiece. In this review of the new edition of the book by Verso, Andy Higginbottom celebrates a classic that has lost none of its power. The book brings together in a broad narrative the history of the African continent from a perspective that is at one and the same time Pan-Africanist and Marxist. For all of those interested in Africa’s history and...

Marking the 60th anniversary of the All African People’s Conference in Accra in 1958 December 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the All African People’s Conference (AAPC), which was held in Accra, Ghana, between 5 and 13 December 1958. Under the slogan ‘Hands off Africa!!’, the AAPC was a watershed moment in the history of Africa’s liberation from colonial rule and white supremacy. To mark its significance, a major one day...

Exposing the illusion of the green economy, Simone Claar argues that while the idea of greening capitalism might provide a clear conscience to regions in the North for addressing the ecological crisis, it perpetuates the exploitative relationship between the North and South. Through the green economy framework capitalism, development, and imperialism are ‘green-washed’ as capital invests in new environmental fields like renewable energy or clean cooking. Such a strategy will...

In a contribution to the debate on imperialism in Africa, Lee Wengraf argues that there is an urgency for left analysis on the centrality of the sharpening inter-imperial rivalry on the continent. Chinese imperialism in Africa is not identical to that of the U.S but it has been able to take advantage of the door kicked open by neoliberal deregulation and privatization promoted by the West. Wengraf argues that African...

The public debate on South Africa’s ‘social grant saga’ portrays the case as a typical example of political corruption, personal incompetence and corporate greed. However, as Lena Gronbach argues, behind the headlines is an agenda developed by the World Bank in the early 2000s, which sees poverty as a problem of financial exclusion and restrictive financial markets, rather than the result of deeper structural issues and the lack of a...

Examining the likely outcome of Brexit for Africa, Dirk Kohnert exposes the myths of a rosy new dawn for the continent’s relationship with the UK. Behind the ‘altruistic’ Post-Brexit rhetoric of the British government about assisting pro-poor growth in Africa, the fact is that the UK is a major champion of a wide network of notorious tax havens in UK’s overseas territories, crown dependencies, and island economies of its former...

Ahead of the third ROAPE workshop in the series on radical political economy, to be held in Johannesburg in November, Peter Lawrence looks at the debate on the legacy of Julius Nyerere and socialism at the second meeting in Dar es Salaam. The Dar workshop, as was the case with the first one in Accra, was distinguished by the serious analysis by both scholars and activists and those who are...

Jörg Wiegratz asks why there is such silence in much of African Studies on capitalism. He wonders why capitalism does not feature more prominently in titles of major Western conferences on Africa, and articles of main African Studies journals. In this blogpost he asks why does this analytical lacuna exist? Wiegratz calls for a discussion and explanation of this state of affairs. On the central question of capitalism, the African...

In South Africa ten members of a militant shack dwellers organisation have been assassinated in the past six years. Yet many progressive organisations have distanced themselves from these militants. Jared Sacks exposes the complicity of a mainstream NGO that could have played an important role defending the movement against these political assassinations. Sacks argues that when movements refuse co-optation, repression, including assassination, become necessary to maintain power. By Jared Sacks On...

David Seddon examines a largely unknown chapter in Che Guevara’s involvement in the revolutionary anti-imperialist movements in Africa. He focuses on the question of how far Guevara was involved in promoting and encouraging the liberation struggle in what was to become Western Sahara. Did he contribute to the development of the POLISARIO Front which even today continues its struggle for Western Saharan independence? By David Seddon In my piece on Che Guevara...