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Accepted Paper:

Old colonial power in new green financing instruments. Financial subordination in renewable energy financing.  
Steffen Haag (University of Hamburg)

Paper short abstract:

The current financing of renewable energies in Africa follows neo-colonial patterns. This contribution aims to understand these financing patterns at the disciplinary juncture of critical finance, political economy and postcolonial studies.

Paper long abstract:

Financing for renewable energy technologies in Africa currently faces a challenging situation. On the one hand financing is needed for universal energy access, on the other hand the current instruments of climate finance are locked in a hierarchical, inequitable and neo-colonial financial system. Although ‘new’ green financial instruments are presented, underlying financial patterns trace colonial relations. These financing patterns shape local and transnational energy transformations.

The scholarship on financial subordination, stemming from critical finance and international political economy serves as a starting point to unpack the unequal and Global North dominated financial relations rooted in colonialism. While the scholarship on financial subordination makes references to colonialism, it does not take it as the key analytical vantage point. This contribution aims for a recognition of the significance of colonial relations for contemporary climate finance. It therefore suggests a joint conversation between postcolonial studies and literature from financial subordination and ask what a postcolonial perspective does contribute to the field. Based on this interdisciplinary conversation, the article pursues to-centre and re-orient perspectives towards colonial legacies both in knowledge production and financial relations. This shift in perspective leads to a questioning of the analytical standpoint itself and to widen our understanding of financial subordination towards the coloniality in “micro-financial-practices” and the everyday level of financial subordination. This, I argue, serves to understand the unfolding of racial capitalism within renewable energy financing and to de-layer colonial entanglements within contemporary finance for renewable energies in Africa.

Panel P34a
Racial capitalism and climate (in)justice in the 21st century: unsettling colonial entanglements and green 'New Deals' I
  Session 1 Monday 28 June, 2021, -