Financial subordination and uneven financialization in 21st century Africa

Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven, Kai Koddenbrock, Ndongo Samba Sylla

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The financialization debate has not paid enough attention to the African continent. The continent’s populations and governments have found creative ways of dealing with the capitalist world market and political power relations since decolonization in the late 1950s. However, several forms of structural dependence and subordination persist. We ask in this article how the global process of financialization has unfolded across the continent and what it means for relations of dependence. We understand financialization as the global expansion of financial practices, and, in particular, the financial sector, that followed the end of the Bretton Woods era. We consider to what extent it has occurred at all in the four case study countries of Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia, and South Africa. The empirical analysis of aggregate country data shows that financialization is, at best, an uneven and patchy process on the continent, not a general structural shift in the way capital accumulation is organized. Rather, where financialization occurred, it appears to have diversified the relations of dependence that states, corporations, and populations have found themselves in.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalCommunity development journal
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020

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