P128
The Rise of African Transnational Traders

Convenors:
Guive Khan-Mohammad (University of Geneva/University of Edinburgh)
Stream:
Panels
Location:
KH209
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This panel proposes to explore the emergence of new itineraries of trading accumulation and the increasingly role of transnational African traders in the extraversion process of Africa, through ethnographic contributions.

Long abstract:

This panel aims to renew the study of African traders, in the light of their increasingly role in the extraversion process of African contemporary societies. The concept of extraversion (Bayart, 2000) allows to consider the insertion of the African societies as dependant partners in the world economy not only as a constraint - imposed by forces from the outside - but also as a mode d'action - shaped by Africans themselves to obtain benefits. In this pattern, African traders have historically played a major role, as commercial links between global and national economies. Nevertheless, as a consequence of successive liberalization's waves ; of economic openness of South-Asian countries ; of African economic and demographic growth since the beginning of the 21st century, the role of African traders in the extraversion process has been amplified. In decrypting the new trading routes of these entrepreneurs ; in insisting on the emergence of new itineraries of transnational accumulation and their influence in the reconfiguration of the preexisting trade hierarchies ; in closely observing the trading strategies of the African transnational traders, as well as their relationship with the State and its - « formal » and « informal » - efforts to regulate their activities ; and in exploring the social effect of their imports as vector of a new material modernity, we intend to offer an update on profiles and practices of African entrepreneurs, and new perspectives on how they participate to shape the extraversion of the African continent, in its historical, strategic and symbolic dimensions.