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Phillips, Jon (2019) 'Who’s in charge of Sino-African resource politics? Situating African state agency in Ghana.' African Affairs, 118 (470). pp. 101-124.

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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.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 14682621
Copyright Statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in African Affairs, 118 (470). pp. 101-124 following peer review. The version of record is available online at: Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 15:26
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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