ISBN 9789956578030
Pages 278
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2010
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Crisis and Neoliberal Reforms in Africa

Civil Society and Agro-Industry in Anglophone Cameroon's Plantation Economy

by Piet Konings

This book discusses the social and political consequences of the economic and financial crisis that befell African economies since the 1980s, using as case study the plantation economy of the Anglophone region of Cameroon. The focus is thus on recent efforts to liberalize and privatize an agro-industrial enterprise where overseas capital and its domestic partners have converged, the consequent modes of production and labour, and the alternatives proposed and resistance generated. The study details how the unprecedented crisis caused great commotion in the region, and presented a serious challenge to existing theories on plantation production and capital accumulation. The crisis resulted in the introduction of a number of neoliberal economic reforms, including the withdrawal of state intervention and the restructuring, liquidation and privatisation of the major agro-industrial enterprises. These reforms in turn had severe consequences for several civil-society groups and their organisations that had a direct stake in the regional plantation economy, notably the regional elite, chiefs, plantation workers and contract farmers. On the basis of extensive research in the Anglophone Cameroon region, Konings shows that these civil-society groups have never resigned themselves to their fate but have been actively involved in a variety of formal and informal modes of resistance.

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“A fascinating account of the agrarian crisis in the plantation economy in Cameroon, against the background of reform, privatisation and the response by unions and cooperatives in providing support for livelihoods on the edge. A must read for all those interested in the political economy of agrarian reform.”

Professor Pradip Thomas, University of Queensland, Australia

“A tribute to Leiden University’s tenacious and comprehensive African Studies vision, twenty five years’ work informs Konings’ latest text on Anglophone Cameroon’s tea plantations, bringing his analysis into the 21st century. It is based on archival research, interviews and observations, engaging public authorities, company managers, and workers as they labor, confer, strike, blockade roads and face the consequences. An exhaustively crafted, quite magisterial study.”

Milton Krieger, Professor Emeritus, Western Washington University, USA

“This work is well-written, accessible and profoundly covers sensitive and often neglected topics of neoliberal reforms plaguing the civil society and the agricultural economy of the former British Cameroon. The author demystifies and provides superior quality exposition and well documented answers to an array of complex issues…”

Esendugue Greg Fonsah, Associate Professor and Agricultural Economist, University of Georgia, USA

"Konings presents a well-written history of civil society and the Anglophone Cameroonian plantation sector..."

Canadian Journal of African Studies

About the Author

Piet Konings

Piet Konings is a sociologist of development and a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden (The Netherlands). He has published widely on socio-political and economic developments in Ghana and Cameroon. His most recent books include Trajectoires de Libération en Afrique Contemporaine (Karthala, 2000), Negotiating an Anglophone Identity: A Study of the Politics of Recognition and Representation in Cameroon (Brill, 2003), and Crisis and Creativity: Exploring the Wealth of the African Neighbourhood (Brill, 2006).

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