1. African Economies in Transition


Africa Working Group

From World-Systems Theory to Market Chatter, the concept of ‘Emerging Markets’ has taken hold of the popular imagination. But at what point does ‘emerging’ become ‘developed’ and do the relationships between emerging and developed countries facilitate development? To what extent does power as a political tool inform African economies and their interaction with global markets? 

Scholars have used the concept of ‘emerging’ in the African context uncritically. We challenge this convention and complicate the dichotomy between emerging, developing and developed economies. We question how the terms ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ influence nations’ trajectories. Be it through politics, trade or finance, we are concerned that whether these terms are real or constructed, they shape not just our perceptions, but also the trajectory of transition.

Does it make sense to talk of contemporary African economies as emerging? If so, does emerging imply that a transformation is taking place? Does the normative frame of a movement from underdevelopment to development make sense in the African context? Is transformation occurring or are African societies today frozen in transition? We aim to critically engage these questions.

The working group invites papers from interested young scholars whose work broadly engages with these issues on the African continent and internationally. The organizers encourage papers from the humanities and social sciences. Papers may fall into one of the following broad categories:

  1. Economic Development of Africa
  2. African Economic History
  3. African Political Economy
  4. African Economies in Comparative Perspective with other regions of the World
  5. Philosophy, Religion and Development

Questions regarding this call can be directed to:

Richard Itaman (ierichards@yahoo.com); Tinashe Nyamunda (nyamundat@gmail.com) - Africa Working Group