Africa Working Group/ IIPPE Afrique
The primary aim of the IIPPE Africa Working Group is to promote intellectual and practical exchange between scholars and activists of African political economy, and those in other IIPPE working groups. Many of the most pressing questions and themes concerning Africa’s political economies – including land reform, the politics of resources, the influence of IFIs and econometric methodologies in development policy and academia, the relationship between state, capital and labour, financialisation and the changing and continuous nature of capitalist transformation – open up channels for comparison with other processes and regions. At the same time, the continent’s modern histories of decolonisation and ill-conceived boundaries, structural adjustment, militarisation and the struggle for sovereignty over currencies and economic policy more generally, have created particular regional dynamics that merit an area focus.
The Africa working group is supported by the Review of African Political Economy, whose contributions are based on politically engaged scholarship from a range of disciplines. This journal pays particular attention to the political economy of inequality, exploitation, oppression, and to struggles against them, whether driven by global forces or local ones such as class, race, community and gender. It sustains a critical analysis of the nature of power and the state in Africa in the context of capitalist globalisation.
In summary, the Africa WG’s aims are:
- To organise activities that promote dialogue between Africa-based scholars/ scholars of Africa, and those who share an interest in radical approaches to political economy, acknowledging the power dynamics in capitalism and often with a critical Marxist perspective.
- In accordance with IIPPE, it seeks to reflect on and address the relationship between political economy and activism, from the importance of ‘understanding the world in order to change it’ to more direct forms of engagement with contemporary struggles.
L’objectif principal du groupe de travail Afrique de l’IIPPE est de promouvoir les échanges, intellectuels et pratiques, entre chercheurs travaillant sur l‘économie politique africaine, activistes et les autres groupes de travail de l’IIPPE. De nombreux thèmes et questions parmi les plus pressants touchant à l’économie politique africaine – notamment la réforme foncière, la politique des ressources, l’influence des institutions financières internationales et des méthodologies économétriques sur les politiques de développement et le milieu universitaire, la relation entre l’Etat, le capital et le travail, la financiarisation et les modalités de transformation du capitalisme entre continuités et discontinuités, ouvrent la voie à des comparaisons avec d’autres processus et d’autres régions. Dans le même temps, l’histoire moderne de la décolonisation du continent et de ses frontières, l’ajustement structurel, la militarisation et les luttes de souveraineté pour la maîtrise de la monnaie et de la politique économique ont mis en branle des dynamiques proprement régionales qui méritent une analyse spécifique.
Le groupe de travail Afrique est appuyé par la Review of African Political Economy, dont les contributions relèvent d’une recherche académique politiquement engagée et interdisciplinaire. Ce journal accorde une attention particulière à l’économie politique des inégalités, de l’exploitation et de l’oppression et des luttes menées contre ces phénomènes, à l’échelle locale comme internationale, sur la base de la classe sociale, de la race, de la communauté ou du genre. Il encourage une analyse critique de la nature du pouvoir et de l’Etat en Afrique dans le contexte de la globalisation capitaliste.
En résumé, les objectifs du groupe de travail Afrique sont les suivants :
Organiser des activités de promotion du dialogue entre chercheurs basés en Afrique/chercheurs africanistes qui partagent un intérêt pour les approches hétérodoxes de l’économie politique, reconnaissant les dynamiques de pouvoir du capitalisme, y compris dans une perspective critique marxiste,
En conformité avec l’IIPPE, répondre aux enjeux, à la fois intellectuels et politiques, posés par la relation économie politique / activisme, entre reconnaissance de l’importance de « comprendre le monde pour le changer » et formes plus directes d’engagement avec des luttes contemporaines.
Working group coordinators: Hannah Cross (H.Cross@westminster.ac.uk) and Elisa Greco (E.Greco@leeds.ac.uk)
Working group members
Mohammad Amir Anwar is a Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. He has a Ph.D in Geography from Trinity College Dublin. His research focus is on the political economy of globalisation in Africa, with a particular interest on the growth of information economy in Africa. His current work investigates the emergence of gig economy and its developmental impacts in Africa. Recent articles are: Does economic upgrading lead to social upgrading in contact centres? evidence from South Africa (African Geographical Review) and The global gig economy: towards a planetary labour market? (First Monday).
Patrick Bond – senior professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Built Environment and Development Studies where since 2004 he has directed the Centre for Civil Society. His work presently covers aspects of economic crisis, environment (energy, water and climate change), social mobilization, public policy and geopolitics, with publications about South Africa, Zimbabwe, the African continent and global-scale processes. Recent books are Elite Transition (3rd edn, Pluto Press, 2014); South Africa – The Present as History (with John Saul, James Currey Press, 2014) and Politics of Climate Justice (UKZN Press, 2012). email@example.com
Pádraig Carmody is an Associate Professor in Geography at Trinity College Dublin, where he did his undergraduate and masters work. His Ph.D. is from the University of Minnesota in the US, where after graduation he also taught at the University of Vermont. At TCD he co-directs the TCD-UCD Masters in Development Practice. His research centres on the political economy of globalisation in Africa. He has published a number of books, including The New Scramble for Africa (2011) and the Rise of the BRICS in Africa (2013) and with Jim Murphy, Africa’s Information Revolution (2015). His current research examines the impacts of large-scale land acquisitions. He sits on the board of Political Geography and African Geographical Review and is editor-in-chief of Geoforum.
Hannah Cross – senior lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, and chair of the editorial working group of the Review of African Political Economy. Published work includes a book on ‘Migrants, Borders and Global Capitalism: West African labour mobility and EU Borders’ (Routledge 2013/16) and further research on the political economy of migration and labour regimes, the global remittance agenda, and more broadly continuity and change in capitalism in Africa in relation to labour. Her most recent research focuses on migration beyond capitalism.
Rama Salla Dieng is a Lecturer in Africa and International Development at the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Before the University of Edinburgh, she worked in Policy Research at the UN – African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) and before that she worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Mauritius. Rama’s research centres on feminist and political economy of labour and capital in horticultural value chains, agrarian change in Rural Senegal , care and social reproduction, Politics of African Development. Rama serves on the board of the African Studies Association UK.
Rama is the co-editor of a collective book on Feminist Parenting, Perspectives from Africa and Beyond (Demeter Press 2020), and Editor of an anthology in French on Feminisms in Africa, Présence Africaine 2021. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hazel Gray is a lecturer in African Studies and Development at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh. She previously worked at LSE and SOAS and has a PhD from SOAS Economics Department. Her research interests cover the comparative political economy of development, political economy of industrialization, institutions and economic theory. Her regional focus is in East Africa. Previously she worked as an economist at the Ministry of Finance in Tanzania and she continues to work with the Economic and Social Research Foundation in Dar es Salaam.
Elisa Greco – research associate in the School of Environment, Education and Development at the University of Manchester. She has an interest on theoretical issues in critical agrarian studies, with particular reference to the relevance of Marx’s understanding on value and rent in processes of agrarian change. She has published on the land question and class formation in rural Tanzania and on struggles and resistance against land grabbing in African countries. She is now developing a comparative research on finance capital and the restructuring of rice farming areas in East Africa, with an empirical focus on labour and exploitation.
Rocío Hiraldo is currently on the third year of her PhD at the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia. Her thesis investigates the relationship between the development of conservation-related capital (carbon markets and eco-tourism) in the Sine Saloum delta in Senegal and processes of class formation in this area. She has a particular interest in exploring the global dynamics of capital accumulation, in particular neoliberalisation, and their effects on the transformation of rural economies in African countries. R.Hiraldo@uea.ac.uk
Peter Jacobs is an Economist based at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in Cape Town. His areas of research interest include: the Economics/Political Economy of agrarian change and structural socio-economic transitions, with special emphasis on land reform and small-scale farming, socioeconomic dynamics of innovation, agro-food value chains and food and nutrition security. Empirically, most of his work concentrates on Southern Africa, using a Global South comparative analytical lens.
Firoze Manji, a Kenyan, is the Director of the Pan-African Baraza,(www.panafricanbaraza.org), an initiative of (www.thoughtworks.com). He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Pambazuka News (www.pambazuka.org) (2000-2012) and Pambazuka Press / Fahamu Books (http://www.fahamu.org/pambazuka-press) (2008-2012). He is the founder and former executive director (1997-2010) of Fahamu – Networks for Social Justice (www.fahamu.org). He is Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies (http://www.ips-dc.org/staff-and-board/#associate-fellows); board member of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org); member of the International Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, Goldsmiths College, University of London; member of the editorial board of AwaaZ Magazine (http://www.awaazmagazine.com/); co-editor of Groundings, a publication of the Walter Rodney Foundation; member of the editorial board of the journal South, member of International Editorial Review Board of Global Critical Caribbean Thought; and member of the Advisory Committee of the African Documentary Film Fund (www.adff.org). He is co-editor, with Sokari Ekine, of African Awakenings: The Emerging Revolutions; and co-editor with Bill Fletcher Jr. of Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral
Giuliano Martiniello – Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University. He is broadly interested in the political economy and political ecology of agrarian change in Africa. Other themes of interest include theories of agrarian change, land and agrarian questions and reforrms, global capital, land grabbing, food sovereignty/security, social movements with particular reference to South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania. He is now developing further his research spectrum by looking at questions of financialization and commercialization of smallholder agriculture. email@example.com
Willis Okumu holds a PhD from the University of Cologne (Social Anthropology), having done research on ‘the meanings of violence’ among the Turkana and Samburu of Baragoi, Northern Kenya. He is currently implementing peacebuilding programmes across the Kipsigis and Maasai of Transmara in Southern Kenya while also collecting data on local peacebuilding capacities.
Francisco Pérez is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Utah. He researches the history and political economy of the CFA franc, a currency union of fourteen countries in West and Central Africa. He is the Director of the Center for Popular Economics, a nonprofit collective of political economists whose programs and publications demystify the economy and put useful economic tools in the hands of people fighting for social and economic justice. He has a PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MPA from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and a BA from Harvard University.
Nicholas Pons-Vignon is a senior researcher in the School of Economic & Business Sciences (SEBS) at Wits University, South Africa. He holds a PhD from EHESS (Paris). Nicolas’ research focuses on labour markets, economic policy, and the role of the state in economic development. He has co-edited (with Aurelia Segatti) in 2013 a special issue of the Review of African Political Economy (Vol. 40, No. 138) on the political economy of South Africa. He has been the editor of the Global Labour Column since its inception in 2009. Nicolas initiated the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) in 2007, which he directed for 7 years before joining the Scientific committee. Before coming to South Africa in 2004, he worked in Paris at the OECD Development centre, where he researched violent conflicts in developing countries. Nicolas.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Radley is a PhD student at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, based in Kinshasa, DRC. His thesis explores the implications of the current dynamic of change in the Congolese mining sector – away from artisanal mining and towards FDI-led industrial production – for the nature and prospects of capitalist development associated with mining in the DRC. The study focuses on South Kivu Province and, using a historical-structuralist methodology, combines quantitative analysis with qualitative economic and socio-political field research in two gold mine sites. His research interests lie in the social structures of accumulation that underpin natural resource governance, the different labour regimes and circuits of value that arise out of these structures, and the consequences of these outcomes for local and national processes of accumulation and (capitalist) development.
Chérif Salif Sy
Sara Stevano is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Economics at SOAS University of London. Her work is on the political economy of food and nutrition, households and labour markets in Africa. She has done research in Mozambique and Ghana. Sara is interested in the use of feminist political economy, drawing on social reproduction theory, to study work, informalisation of employment, and well-being.
Jörg Wiegratz – Lecturer in Political Economy of Global Development, University of Leeds, works on the political economy and moral economy of neoliberalism in Africa and elsewhere, with a particular focus on the topics of moral restructuring, economic fraud, anti-fraud measures, cooperatives, and populism. In the past, he has also worked on global value chains, industrial development and human resource development, predominantly with an empirical focus on Uganda. J.Wiegratz@leeds.ac.uk
IIPPE Conference presentations