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Financial Centres of the Future – What Role for Africa and Latin America? 
Ewa Karwowski (King's College London)
Dariusz Wojcik
Politics and political economy
Wednesday 6 July, 11:50-12:30 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This workshop explores the current and future role of African and Latin American financial centres in just and sustainable development. Its ultimate aim is to develop a research project on how finance in those regional centres can contribute to addressing the climate crisis and economic inequality.

Long Abstract

While New York and London have long dominated the global financial architecture (Cassis and Wojcik, 2018), cities from emerging Asia have taken prominent spots among the top ten international financial centres over the past decade (Lai 2012). However, other emerging world regions have not been able to catch up significantly. Latin American and African financial centres, despite being praised as regional ‘gateways’ (Cobbett 2014), have remained relatively insignificant globally. Given the economic challenges that societies across these two continents face – especially extreme inequality and fallout from the climate crisis – the question whether and how regional financial can play a constructive role in supporting just and sustainable socio-economic transformation is increasingly pressing.

Therefore, this workshop has a threefold aim. First, it will map the existing – if rather limited – literature on emerging financial centres in Africa and Latin America, identifying specificities, the nature of links to the dominant global financial centres and their current potential to contribute to or hinder just and sustainable development. Secondly, the workshop tackles the question how these financial centres might have to re-invent themselves to tackle tax evasion (in turn linked to inequality), the overreliance on extractive industries (which is unsustainable in the face of the climate crisis) and other major challenges to just socio-economic transformation. Thirdly, the ultimate aim of the workshop is to develop a research project on the future of African and Latin American financial centres by bringing together scholars across different social science disciplines working on these topics. Thus, the workshop provides an opportunity to identify relevant concepts and methodologies that are useful to tackle the questions raised here and crucially, how they can be utilised or potentially need to be re-invented for the African and Latin American regional contexts.

The workshop invites papers, research notes and other contributions, relevant to the described research agenda. The workshop will be organised as follows. Prior to the workshop, each participant will be asked to record a short video summary (5 minutes) of their contribution, explicitly addressing at least one of the three stated aims of the workshop. These recorded summaries will be the basis for the workshop discussion. Thus, there will be no paper presentations or presentations of contributions during the event. Instead, the workshop will be used for discussion to sketch out the agenda for a future research project and potential joint grant application.

Accepted contributions: