P008
African capitalisms: Bringing the entrepreneur back in

Convenors:
Thomas Bierschenk (Johannes Gutenberg-Universit├Ąt)
Helmut Asche (University of Mainz)
Format:
Panels
Location:
KH001
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The interdisciplinary panel focuses on the emergence (or otherwise) of capitalist entrepreneurship. We are looking for empirical studies on mid-sized indigenous entrepreneurs and their companies who operate in the productive sectors of the economy, including complementary banking.

Long abstract:

Is Africa the last frontier of capitalism? While African studies has shied away from this question since the fading of the 'Kenya debate', recent economic journalism and consultancy literature has taken it up and enthusiastically answers it in the affirmative. The proposed interdisciplinary panel intends to focus this question on the emergence (or otherwise) of capitalist entrepreneurship. Against the background of the thesis of the 'missing middle', we are looking for empirical studies on mid-sized indigenous entrepreneurs (long-settled ethnic minorities and the diaspora included) and their companies who oper-ate in productive enterprise (not trade); in particular those active in sectors exposed to international competition; and who owe their business model not primarily to collusion with state structures and thus the appropriation of politically mediated rent. This entrepreneurship may not necessarily be con-fined to the so-called formal sector. Recent research on the informal sector has established its diversity and demonstrated that dynamic entrepreneurs often remain in the informal sector on purpose, where they operate not only as necessity entrepreneurs. Studies on national and regional value chains and manufacturing clusters are equally welcome, as well as those on domestic banking complementary to the productive economy.