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The Politics of Neoliberal Reforms in Africa

State and civil society in Cameroon

Piet Konings

Publication Year: 2011

Neoliberalism has become the dominant development agenda in Africa. Faced with a deep economic and political crisis, African governments have been compelled by powerful external agencies, in particular the Bretton Woods institutions and western states, to pursue this agenda as a necessary precondition for the receipt of development aid. What is particularly striking in Africa, however, is that neoliberal experiments there have displayed such remarkable diversity. This may be due not only to substantial differences in historical, economic and political trajectories on the African continent but also, and maybe more importantly, in the degree of resistance internal actors have demonstrated to the neoliberal reforms imposed on them. This book focuses on Cameroon which has had a complex economic and political history and is currently witnessing resistance to the neoliberal experiment by the authoritarian and neopatrimonial state elite and various civil-society groups. It is the culmination of over twenty years of fine and refined research by one of the leading scholars of Cameroon today.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgements

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pp. xi-xii

This book is the product of many years of intensive research in Cameroon and the enriching encounters with local scholars and civilsociety members, and I would like to thank all those who, in one way or another, have contributed to this project. I am particularly grateful to Francis Nyamnjoh ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xv

Map of the Republic of Cameroon

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pp. xvi-

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1. Contesting Neoliberal Reforms in Africa

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pp. 1-20

Neoliberal globalisation has swept unevenly but steadily across the world, including Africa. Harrison (2010: 26-27) offers a definition of neoliberalism that appears appropriate to the African experience. In his view, the term encompasses a diverse set of interventions over a protracted period of time that ...

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2. The Introduction of Neoliberal Economic and Political Reforms in the Cameroonian Post-colonial State

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pp. 21-46

For a long time Cameroon was lauded by many observers, including World Bank staff, as one of the most prosperous and most stable countries in post-colonial Africa. Following the unprecedented economic and political crisis in the 1980s, this rosy assessment has been replaced by gloom. ...

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3. Opposition and Social-democratic Cchange in Cameroon: The Social Democratic Front

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pp. 47-72

The functioning of opposition parties in Africa’s current democratic transition appears still to be understudied and the existing literature usually presents a rather negative picture of their role (cf. Olukoshi 1998b; Mbaku & Ihonvbere 1998; van de Walle & Smiddy 2000; van Walraven & Thiriot 2002; Salih 2003). ...

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4. The Neoliberalising Cameroonian State and Private Capital Accumulation

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pp. 73-100

Faced with deep and prolonged economic and political crises, African governments have been compelled by international financial institutions and donors to adopt neoliberal reform packages. Some of the major tenets of neoliberalism are the call for less and better government, usually framed in terms ...

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5. Political Liberalisation and Anglophone Secessionist Movements in Cameroon

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pp. 101-128

Secession has been rare in post-colonial Africa and has been strongly opposed by newly independent states and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in an attempt to safeguard territorial integrity. Secessionist claims have, however, been on the rise since the end of the 1980s in the wake of political ...

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6. Good Governance, Privatisation and Ethno-regional Conflict in Cameroon

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pp. 129-154

By proclaiming that a ‘crisis of governance’ underlies ‘the litany of Africa’s development problems’, the World Bank’s 1989 report Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth placed the concept of good governance at the heart of the donor agenda for Africa (World Bank 1989: 60). ...

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7. Good Governance and Border Conflicts in Africa: The Bakassi Dispute Between Cameroon and Nigeria

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pp. 155-176

Africanists have developed a renewed interest in the study of colonially negotiated borders of late due to an increase in boundary disputes between and within African states (cf. Nugent & Asiwaju 1996; Bach 1999; Mbembe 1999; Herbst 2000; Nugent 2002; Bennafla 2002). ...

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8. China and Africa in the Era of Neoliberal Globalisation with Cameroon as a Case Study

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pp. 177-204

The People’s Republic of China’s renewed interest in Africa in the era of neoliberal globalisation is one of the most significant developments on the African continent. While there was little evidence of China’s presence in Africa two decades ago, hundreds of major Chinese businesses are now active ...

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9. Political Liberalisation and the Violent University Students’ Revolt in Cameroon

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pp. 205-232

The struggle for political liberalisation, starting at the end of the 1980s, unleashed an unprecedented wave of student rebellion on university campuses in West and Central Africa (Kpatinde 1991). University students were often in the forefront of these struggles, sometimes with the support of secondary school students, ...

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10. Solving Transportation Problems in African Cities During Neoliberal Reforms: Innovative Responses by the Youth in Douala, Cameroon

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pp. 233-252

It is widely recognised that young people have been among the most seriously affected by the current economic crisis in Africa (Trani 2000; Jua 2003a). Their chances of finding a job in the state bureaucracy and the formal sector have been drastically reduced by economic liberalisation ...

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11. Trade Unionism in Cameroon and Neoliberal Globalisation: From Crisis to Revitalisation?

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pp. 253-264

Trade unions across Africa are facing similar challenges in the current period of neoliberal globalisation but their responses to the farreaching economic and political reforms have varied (cf. Thomas 1995; Kester & Sidibé 1997; Beckman & Sachikonye 2001; Konings 2006b). Some have shown a remarkable ...

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12. Structural Adjustment and Trade Union Identity in Africa: The Case of Cameroonian Plantation Workers

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pp. 265-284

It is now widely recognised that wage workers were among the most seriously affected by the economic crises and Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) of the 1990s in Africa. SAPs conventionally prescribed devaluation, major cuts in public expenditure, privatisation, rehabilitation or elimination ...

References

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pp. 285-314

Index

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pp. 315-329

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956717101
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956717415

Page Count: 346
Publication Year: 2011