Who’s in charge of Sino-African resource politics? Situating African state agency in Ghana
Oxford University Press
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Phillips, J. (2019). Who’s in charge of Sino-African resource politics? Situating African state agency in Ghana. African Affairs, (ady041) https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/ady041
Recent literature on Sino-African resource politics emphasizes the agency of African elites in relation to Chinese capital and state agencies, yet whether African elites have gained agency over the structure of African economies remains debatable. This article questions how agency has been understood in analyses of Sino-Africa relations by identifying the nature and limits of Ghanaian agency in bilateral and multilateral aid relations since the discovery of oil in 2007. First, although the agency of Ghanaian elites has shaped the outcomes of recent bilateral investments, Ghanaian state agency has been exercised primarily in brokering external sources of finance and in relation to domestic institutions and political factions. Second, Chinese investment did shift the aid modalities and the relative power of Ghana’s traditional development partners, but international finance institutions and US agencies maintained influence over macro-economic governance and sectoral policy, respectively. As such, the scope of Ghanaian agency in relation to external finance and bilateral and multilateral relations was narrow, and market orthodoxies of development remained dominant. Undue attribution of agency over economic and political structures can be avoided by situating African agency within the social and material context of transnational industries.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentship, ES/J500057/1. Fieldwork was also supported by travel grants from King’s College London Department of Geography and School of Social Science and Public Policy
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/ady041
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/285721