Development Archives - ROAPE
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Development Tag

The first decade of the 21st century marked a new beginning for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). After the signing of a peace treaty in 2002, the country re-connected with the world to engage in post-conflict reconstruction. In this blogpost, the authors ask who really benefitted from the ensuing peace dividend? By re-examining the evidence, they conclude that the country missed an important opportunity to combat the country’s devastating poverty....

Benjamin Selwyn’s The Struggle for Development challenges the dominant view that argues human development can only be achieved through continued economic growth and industrialisation. In this review, Andy Wynne praises a book that aims at the total reconceptualisation of human development, to see development as a process of resisting and ultimately transcending capitalist exploitation....

Across the world the extent of corporate collusion raises a range of fundamental questions relating to the manipulation of markets and capture of the policy agenda by private companies. Little is known about the extent of such collusion in so-called developing countries, in Africa in particular. Based on recent research for ROAPE, Thando Vilakazi argues that the form and extent of collusion across much of the continent points to limitations of conventional ‘governance fixes’, namely competition law, to address private cartels in Africa....

Continuing our examination of Rwandan development, An Ansoms looks at how the space for open contestation around problematic aspects of rural policy seems to have increased in the country. Both the national and local media, actors from within civil society, as well as the farmers on the ground are increasingly and openly commenting on flaws in the agrarian modernisation model. Such space for open criticism oriented towards local authorities is new in Rwanda. Though the question remains whether this new openness can evolve towards a larger debate around policy orientation....

Max Ajl speaks to the Marxist economist Utsa Patnaik about agrarian history and imperialism. Her work on the economic history of India and other countries under colonial rule, shows how the experience deepened food insecurity and unemployment, trends which reemerged again under neoliberalism. The interview was conducted as part of the activities of the workshop on ‘Agriculture and Imperialism’ in November 2018, Beirut, Lebanon, organised by the Thimar Collective....

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. ...

The revolutionary left in Sub-Saharan Africa (1960’s-1970’s): a political and social history to be written   Background The reason for this symposium stems from the following observation: while the revolutionary left movements of the 1960s and 1970s in Europe, the United States, Latin America and elsewhere have been the subject of abundant literature, similar movements that emerged during this period in Africa are still unknown. There are two main reasons for this ignorance: firstly, it was often an underground history with actors operating in hiding, and secondly, it is also a long-concealed history, either because of defeat (political and sometimes military), or of a certain form of self-censorship due to the subsequent reconversion of former revolutionary actors within the ruling elite or other reasons of ‘disavowal’ of this left-wing activist past. The symposium is therefore meant to help reveal the invisible, forgotten and retrospectively compressed history of these...

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 future, the book must be studied once more. Review of Walter Rodney (2018) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa  (London/New York: Verso) By Andy Higginbottom This book is a masterpiece. Walter Rodney wrote How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (HEUA) in his late twenties while a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 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...

Recently the World Bank published a paper on poverty in Rwanda. The aim of the paper was to deal with the debate started in 2015 by Filip Reyntjens, and which continues on roape.net, on the reliability of Rwandan poverty statistics. Despite the objectives, when properly calculated, the evidence presented by the World Bank actually strongly supports the claim that poverty has increased in Rwanda. Yet the selective and even misleading presentation of supporting empirical evidence by the World Bank is, to say the least, disturbing. Our Rwanda experts ask if the World Bank is guilty of a worrying level of leniency and incompetence, or outright complicity in the manipulation of Rwanda’s official statistics. In September 2018, the World Bank published a paper entitled ‘Revisiting the Poverty Trend in Rwanda 2010/11-2013/14’, the stated aim of which was to resolve [i.e. shut down?] the debate initiated three years...

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 regular and adequate income. This has been nothing short of a fundamental shift in development policy. By Lena Gronbach In 2012 South Africa’s Social Security Agency SASSA appointed Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), a private financial service provider, as the sole paymaster for the country’s extensive and rapidly expanding social grant programme. This move was designed to address concerns about payment efficiency, high levels of grant fraud, and the fragmented nature of the previous provincial grant payment system...