This panel examines the threats and opportunities of Africa's changing relationship with global markets, production systems and economic flows from the perspective of labour markets and workers.
A fresh wave of globalization is trickling into production systems in Africa. The arrival of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Arabic investors on the continent has spurred new negotiations and configurations, especially within agriculture and industry. In response to interest from the East, Western governments and companies have moved from a position of hard-nose liberalization towards a more institutionally engaged approach to African economies, seeking strategic business partnerships and avenues for social enterprise. Meanwhile, business hubs in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa compete to attract Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and their service jobs onshore. In this session, we wish to examine how these 'global' reconfigurations impact workers and labour markets on the ground. How are changing arrangements in the international division of labour impacting African economies and political systems? How does the entrance of MNCs change the capacities of African businesses and workers to negotiate their contracts and conditions of work? How do movements of migrant labour across African borders change political alliances and fracture points both at home and in the recipient countries? This panel welcomes contributions from across Africa, looking at specific incidences of globalization and the position of workers and professionals. While some people have suggested that "African Lions" might be poised to have their day in the sun, this panel ultimately asks who will become lions and who will become antelopes as Africa attempts to re-negotiate its relationship with the international economy.