Late 19th-century hyper-nationalism, economic downturn, and global competition to open up new markets for European goods gave rise to the scramble for Africa. A legacy of this scramble was the 1885 partition of Africa and the inauguration of colonial rule. This project of exploitation in Africa lasted for more than seven decades before it began to collapse. Between January and December of 1960, seventeen African nations became "politically independent" from their European overlords. Sixty years later, the promises of independence have remained a mirage for many on the continent, and the image of Africa for many in the West evokes corruption, disease, war, and poverty or what Dambisa Moyo has described as the "Four Horsemen of Africa's Apocalypse."
The arrangements that led to the independence of African countries granted them political independence without economic independence as the economies remained reliant on the extractive systems that were put in place by the European powers. Leaders of these new states that Frederick Cooper calls "Gatekeeper States" relied primarily on excise taxes and foreign loans/ aid to manage their countries, a situation that makes them less responsive to their people but more to the Euro-American powers that provide the capital. As in the 1880s, a newly heightened interest in Africa is emerging among Asian, European, and American powers. These powers are rushing to "invest" in Africa and also to establish commercial and strategic ties. This new surge has been fueled by China's $300 billion-plus investments in Africa. Since the 2018 Forum on the China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing where the Communist Party's leader Xi Jinping announced a $60 billion investment package for Africa, other European powers have joined the scramble: the Russia-Africa Summit (October 2019), Germany's Compact with Africa (November 2019), and the Britain-Africa Investment Summit (January 2020). The US is present as a major player through its neoliberal and neocolonial multilateral financial institutions such as the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.
We are interested in contributions that discuss, challenge or interrogate issues relating to the activities of China and Euro-American powers and their institutions on the African continent. Some possible questions that essays should address are:
- How does Africa's colonial past shape the new rush for its natural resources?
- What is the nature of China's "investments" in Africa? Is China a new imperialist power on the continent?
- Brexit and colonial nostalgia. What is the role of the Commonwealth of Nations?
- Russia's return to Africa, what does this mean for Africa and the West?
- What is the G-20 Compact with Africa and how is it shaping Africa’s relations with the Global North?
- Are France's economic ties with its former colonies a continuation of colonial rule?
- What would be the main dissimilarities, if any between the Old scramble for Africa and the new jostle for Africa by global Super Powers?
- In the Old Scramble, Ethiopia and the Afrikaner Republics were participants. Which African states will be actors or acted upon in the new scramble?
- What is the financial, social, religious, and infrastructural impact of the new scramble on African states, and how are the citizens responding? Are there any citizens’ initiatives, bottom-up reactions?
- To what extent could Non-Governmental Organizations operating in Africa be neo-imperialists?
- Are IMF/World Bank activities in Africa neo-colonial?
- How are global trade policies affecting Africa's development?
- How African is the African Development Bank?
Contributors should address these questions from historical and interdisciplinary perspectives. We are particularly interested in contributions from disciplines such as history, sociology, political science, economics, and geography. We welcome contributions by established scholars as well as by promising young researchers, and embrace diversity in terms of gender, nationality and ethnicity. If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please submit an abstract of 500 to 800 words and a brief CV (not more than two pages) to Bekeh Ukelina (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 1, 2020. We will notify you by November 20, 2020, if your proposal is accepted. Completed articles of 6,000 to 8000 words are due by April 1, 2021. Authors will be invited to workshop their papers in a Zoom Workshop with fellow authors in April of 2021. Inquiries are welcome.
Publisher: We are currently working with Leuven University Press and the proposal will be submitted to them in the first instance.