Ecological-economic narratives for resisting extractive industries in Africa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The World Bank report Changing Wealth of Nations 2018 is only the most recent reminder of how much poorer Africa is becoming, losing more than US$100 billion annually from minerals, oil, and gas extraction, according to (quite conservatively framed) environmentally sensitive adjustments of wealth. With popular opposition to socioeconomic, political, and ecological abuses rising rapidly in Africa, a robust debate may be useful: between those practicing anti-extractivist resistance, and those technocrats in states and international agencies who promote “ecological modernization” strategies. The latter typically aim to generate full-cost environmental accounting, and to do so they typically utilize market-related techniques to value, measure, and price nature. Between the grassroots and technocratic standpoints, a layer of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) do not yet appear capable of grappling with anti-extractivist politics with either sufficient intellectual tools or political courage. They instead revert to easier terrains within ecological modernization: revenue transparency, project damage mitigation, Free Prior and Informed Consent (community consultation and permission), and other assimilationist reforms. More attention to political-economic and political-ecological trends including the end of the commodity super-cycle, worsening climate change, financial turbulence and the potential end of a 40-year long globalization process might assist anti-extractivist activists and NGO reformers alike. Both could then gravitate to broader, more effective ways of conceptualizing extraction and unequal ecological exchange, especially in Africa’s hardest hit and most extreme sites of devastation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch in Political Economy
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameResearch in Political Economy
ISSN (Print)0161-7230


  • Africa
  • Debt
  • Environment
  • Extractive industries
  • Natural capital accounting
  • Transnational corporations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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