Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Internal dynamics or structural constraints? Investigating the origins and endurance of commodity dependence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo  
Ben Radley (University of Bath)

Paper short abstract:

Around 95% of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s total national exports derive from just three metal commodities: copper, cobalt, and gold. The proposed paper seeks to explain how this situation came about, and why it has endured through more than six decades of post-independence development.

Paper long abstract:

Today, around 95 percent of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) total national exports derive from just three metal commodities: copper, cobalt, and gold. How did this situation come about, and why has it endured through more than six decades of post-independence development? In seeking to answer these questions, the paper develops a two-fold argument. First, the paper contends that two defining outcomes of the DRC’s colonial encounter with Belgium (1885-1960) were the forced and violent integration of rural regions into commodity production for the international market on highly exploitative terms, and the suppression of precolonial indigenous productive activity and trading networks in favour of Belgian financial capital, solicited primarily to develop the mining and transport sectors.

Second, the paper argues that commodity dependence in the DRC has been continually reproduced during the post-independence period through an unwavering but misguided faith in the mining sector’s potential to deliver broader based processes of industrialisation and structural transformation. Above and beyond the role of internal dynamics and issues of ownership and control, the paper documents three structural constraints that have continually undermined efforts towards mining-led industrialisation in the DRC, in the form of price volatility, enclavity, and low levels of labour absorption. In delivering this line of argument, the paper challenges the widely held view that the roots of the DRC’s economic malaise can be found in state mismanagement, inefficiencies, and corruption. For all of this, the paper draws on a wide range of archival material, secondary data, and interviews.

Panel P08
The colonial roots of commodity dependence
  Session 1 Wednesday 26 June, 2024, -