Accepted paper:

The many faces of gateway politics. Controversies over the port of Dar es Salaam (and Bagamoyo)

Authors:

Jana Hönke (University of Groningen)
Ivan Cuesta-Fernandez

Paper short abstract:

The political geographies of ports – part of the logistical infrastructure of the global economy – have received increasing attention but common transnational practices are emphasised. This paper uses controversies around ports to dig deeper. Research on Dar port is compared to that on Tema.

Paper long abstract:

Africa has seen a boom in transport infrastructure investment, in particular in ports. In Tanzania alone, several major projects are under way, among them the World Bank, DFID and TradeMark East Africa-funded upgrade of the port of Dar es Salaam and a new megaport in Bagamoyo. The political geographies of ports - as part of the broader logistical infrastructure of the global economy - have recently received increasing attention (Cowen 2014, Chalfin 2010). And indeed, they raise old questions about economic infrastructure and political power anew. However, there has been a tendency to emphasis supposedly common transnational policies and practices. This paper uses controversies around infrastructure projects to dig deeper. We suggest that controversies over technical and managerial fixes reveal competing projects, claims and practices of governance. They also offer important insights into whether and how power and authority are reconfigured in new ways around large-scale infrastructure hubs. Based on secondary literature, and field research and document analysis in Tanzania, the paper will feature three controversies 1) delays in dwell time and how to fix them; 2) securitization of cargo and people; 3) 'speeding up' vs. 'scaling up' - the Bagamoyo vs. Dar controversy. The findings from Dar es Salaam will be compared with those on the so far best researched African port, the Ghanaian port of Tema.

panel P001
Hubs, Gateways and Bottlenecks - New Transport Infrastructures and Urbanities Respacing Africa I