Africa: On the rise, but to where?

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Journal Article
Forum for Social Economics, 2015, 44 (3), pp. 234 - 250
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© 2015, The Association for Social Economics. Africa’s hitherto negative image is now being rapidly replaced by a new persona: ‘Africa on the rise’. Developed mainly from Africa’s growth experience, this re-imaging of Africa has generated considerable interest even among Africanists concerned that the continent has often been the target of crisis jokes. Even more notably, the rebranding of Africa has gained traction in corridors of power and centres of finance. For this latter group, however, the narrative signals more than a cultural repackaging. It is about confirming that Africa is ripe and ready to host investment and to open up markets in areas where they did not exist or existed but were not capitalist in form. Either way, however, the ‘Africa on the rise’ narrative achieves a major political and economic goal. Neglecting ethical questions about sustainable jobs, inequality and ecological crisis, while extolling the virtues of capital accumulation, it extends a particular neoliberal ideology which favours people with market power, not the majority with precarious positions or their relationship with nature.
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