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Van Waeyenberge, Elisa and Bayliss, Kate (2023) 'The financialization of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa.' In: Chiapello, Eve, Engels, Anita and Gonçalves Gresse, Eduardo, (eds.), Financializations of Development: Global Games and Local Experiments. London: Routledge. (Routledge Explorations in Development Studies)

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Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic ramping up of advocacy for private finance, including through public-private partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure provision. The 2015 development finance agenda around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) added momentum, calling for the mobilization of private financial resources to fill a development “financing gap”. This chapter considers the implications of interventions by donors and governments to construct infrastructure in a way that will be attractive to private investors. We argue that the growing policy orientation around the promotion of PPPs acts as an important wedge through which infrastructure policy is increasingly captured by finance, despite the relatively minor role that PPPs play in financing infrastructure in developing countries. Infrastructure as a physical spatial asset becomes condensed into financial metrics, seeking to offer secure revenue streams for investors. The role of the state is reconstructed as one of commissioner rather than a provider of services, effectively erasing the redistributive mandate with which infrastructure provisioning is associated. The policy turn to PPPs is part of a wider structural shift that promotes the interests of global capital in development. The specifics of the engagement with private finance in infrastructure vary substantially according to where an investment is located within broader structures of global capitalism, with lower income countries relying heavily on external funding and foreign consultants. Finally, an appearance of technocratic neutrality underpins the promotion of PPPs, which can negate more problematic questioning of whether the original policy is appropriate.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISBN: 9780367483944
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the article/chapter accepted for publication in Chiapello, Eve, Engels, Anita and Gonçalves Gresse, Eduardo, (eds.), Financializations of Development: Global Games and Local Experiments. London: Routledge (2023). Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2023 16:30

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