We are hosting a panel at the upcoming European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) “African Futures” at Cologne, 31 May-3 June 2023. Looking forward to your submissions!

“Is the developmental state back? How post-neoliberal extractivism reshapes social contracts in Africa.”

African governments have turned towards post-neoliberal policies of natural resource governance lately. The panel critically explores this trend and its impacts on Africa’s global connections, state-business-society relations, contentious politics, “development”, and more.

Convenors: Dr. Jan Sändig (University of Bayreuth) & Dr. Sarah Katz-Lavigne (University of Antwerp)

Chair: Prof. Dr. Jana Hönke (University of Bayreuth)

Section: Politics and International Relations; Conservation & Land Governance

Extractivism remains the backbone of most African economies: the continent’s primary exports (from mining, oil, gas, agriculture, and fishing) account for the vast bulk of the states’ revenues. Yet, most Africans hardly benefit from this. The colonial heritage of extractivism, the neoliberal governance model, patronage politics, and the current global extractivist boom all contributed to Africa’s highly uneven development. New political responses, in this context, have gained popularity, leading to debates around state capitalism and new “development” discourses. African governments have recently adopted policies widely understood as “resource nationalism”, though research suggests that its emancipatory discourse and potential may not hold in practice. Moving from neoliberal to post-neoliberal extractivism bears the political ambition for resource-based development through developmental states, which reinvest extractive rents in social programs and structural transformation. Such efforts can be observed in many resource-rich African states (including the DRC, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, and others).

This panel invites contributions that link the past, present, and future(s) of natural resource governance in Africa. We welcome varied perspectives: How is the African developmental state reinvented and how does it impact the continents’ global connections, including global supply chains? How does post-neoliberal extractivism reshape social contracts between the state, business, and society? What opportunities for contestation does neo-extractivism open or close? Does it fulfill the promise of furthering development – and what forms of development and for whom? Through case studies as well as theoretical reflections, this panel addresses these issues and more.

If you would like to submit a paper, click here.