The Politics of Transnational Capitalism in Tanzania
Historically, postcolonial African countries have had restricted private sectors, yet with the current worldwide movement towards privatization and liberalization, the region is now considered to be rife with lucrative opportunities1. Since the 1970s, foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa has been facilitated by programs of aid conditionality and state governments' adherence to Western conceptions of sound economic policy advocated by the international organizations and development community. While the implications of FDI on economic development and international relations have been widely discussed, less attention has been given to understanding the active role played by host countries in orchestrating and controlling FDI. By their nature, FDI initiatives connect three sets of players: 1) International organizations involved in investment promotion; 2) Political and administrative leaders in host countries; 3) Executives and corporate managers of transnational corporations (TNCs). FDI flows are not simply institutional processes of globalization but also a means by which state elite can gain international legitimacy and recognition depending on the nature of their relations to TNCs and their adherence to the ideologies of international organizations.
The question guiding this research project is: how is the configuration of state elite changes with increased FDI and the presence of external agents of capital? The project explores:
1. The ways transnational capitalist elite organize FDI;
2. Hosts’ active attempts to attract FDI and their responses to these initiatives;
3. State elite motivations for aligning their actions and rhetoric to the ideologies of
The research objectives will be addressed in reference to the recent growth in Tanzania's gold mining industry2. Since 1998, TNCs have assumed a dominant role in production after a new mining code allowed 100% foreign ownership, the unrestricted repatriation of profits and capital, and introduced guarantees against nationalization and expropriation. Mining TNCs often operate as enclaves within the host country, with their own power structures, rules, and values, and few studies on FDI in Africa's extractive industries have focused on Tanzania. This project identifies the political and
economic actors involved in organizing FDI and analyzes the articulation of transnational economic power and political authority. By looking at the practices of state elite, their ability to promote or resist FDI, their alliances and conflicts, the project will contribute to debates on the importance of private actors in the national politics of developing countries such as Tanzania.
The Post-Doc project is funded by FSE and will run from 2009 until the end of 2011.
DIIS researchers involved: France Bourgouin.