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2.2.2: Extracting 'development': Mining, oil and gas, tourism, and NGOs
Wednesday, 18/May/2022:
1:00pm - 2:30pm

Chair(s): Larry Swatuk,

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Rethinking the Southern Tour on China’s Road to Reform – Using the Immanent Causality Morphogenetic Approach

Brandon Sommer, Karim Knio

Erasmus University, Netherlands, The

In this paper we rethink the historical place of Deng Xiaoping’s famous Southern Tour in understanding the key coalition that forms the basis of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Power. We examine the role of the Coastal Provinces in building the basis for Deng’s support but underscore that in fact seeing the Southern Tour without the first part in which Deng secures the support of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) inaccurately situates the logic of reform. This research utilizes the Immanent Causality Morphogenetic Approach (ICMA), an innovative theoretical and methodological approach in political economy and development theory more generally. The ICMA uncovers the key role of the Southern Tour but goes further by making a causal and materialist argument about the way in which the CCP, conceived of in coalition with coastal leaders, technocrats and the PLA cements their position in the modern era which by extension forces us to examine many existing premises of how we understand the political economy of China.

Filling the Development Vacuum: The Impact of Islamic NGOs in Bangladesh Under Neoliberalism

Mehran Shamit

McMaster University, Canada

Major financial institutions, including the World Bank and IMF, imposed a secular brand of development in the Global South with the spread of neoliberalism. Both Western donors and academics neglected the role of religion and faith-based organizations in development as they considered religion as going against rationality and development. In the Muslim world, Muslim leaders and Islamic organizations have largely been neglected and left out of mainstream development discourses. The rise of Islamic NGOs is associated with the revival of alternatives to secular development in the context of the spread of neoliberalism in the Global South. In Bangladesh, Islamic NGOs emerged after the failure of the Bangladeshi state as well as secular NGOs in delivering effective social services. In this context, I address the following questions: What is the relationship between religion and development? Why are faith-based organizations important in development? What is the role of NGOs in Bangladesh? Why did Islamic NGOs emerge in Bangladesh? And are they effective in carrying out development work in Bangladesh? Analyzing the role of Islamic NGOs in development in the context of neoliberalism, I argue that development efforts in Bangladesh can be made more effective through the incorporation of cultural and religious values and beliefs, which Islamic NGOs have been consciously engaging in through their development work in Bangladesh, filling the current development vacuum and positioning themselves as the new alternatives to secular NGOs. Islamic NGOs work within neoliberalism, but reconcile economic rationality with Islamic values. They create pious neoliberal subjects who willingly engage in economic practices without compromising religious beliefs. Through an analysis of Islamic microfinance as well as the Parshi Islamic model of development, I show that Islamic NGOs are much more capable and effective in delivering development in rural Bangladesh due to their incorporation of Islamic values and principles.

Analyzing Haiti as the Republic of NGOs

Ray Vander Zaag

Canadian Mennonite University, Canada

Both the state and the international development system have failed in Haiti, according to observers. This paper examines the role of development NGOs in Haiti, specifically, the critique that names Haiti as the “Republic of NGOs”. This oft-repeated discourse specifically links development failure to the number of NGOs in Haiti and how they have contributed to a weak state. The first part of the paper will examine the evidence for often-cited claims that there are 10,000 NGOs operating in Haiti, or that Haiti has more NGOs per capita than other developing countries. It will suggest that little empirical evidence exists to support these quantitative claims, specifically for intermediary NGOs (a definition that is consistent with the reasoning that international aid donor funding of NGOs is bypassing and thus weakening the Haitian state.) The analytical question of how to determine whether NGO proliferation are cause or effect of state weakness will also be examined. The second part of the paper will examine why, even if it is not grounded in good empirical evidence, the “Republic of NGO” discourse nonetheless has become such a widespread and useful narrative in explaining Haiti. It will analyze a range of theoretical analyses – from realist to post-developmentalism - of the failure of development in Haiti, and suggest how this discourse is useful for each of these explanations.

Artisanal and Small-scale Mining, Covid-19 pandemic and Imposition of ban in Ghana: Implications on ‘illegal’ miners’ livelihood

Mohammed Adam

University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

Globally, the significance of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector for employment creation, income generation and socioeconomic rural development is widely upheld. Yet, in April 2017, the government of Ghana placed a ban that cuts across the formal and informal operations of the sector. While the ban was being enforced, the Covid-19 pandemic also became a global health concern in March 2020 in many countries including Ghana. This paper therefore examines the impact of the government’s ban on ASM and COVID-19 on the livelihood of illegal miners in Ghana. The paper seeks to answer the following questions: (1) What is the nature and scope of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Ghana? (2) How has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced and shaped the government’s ban of the artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana? (3) What are the implications of the Covid-19 and the government’s ban of artisanal and small-scale mining on the livelihood of illegal miners? Drawing on a qualitative research methodology and using primary and secondary data gathered between September and October 2020 and August and November 2021 respectively, the paper argues that although it is widely acknowledged that ASM is a poverty-driven activity, the Ghana government’s imposition of ban on the sector together with the Covid-19 pandemic have further deteriorated the socioeconomic and livelihood conditions of illegal miners thereby shuttering their dreams of a ‘decent life’. Consequently, illegal miners have no option but to stay at home, expend from their meagre savings and respond to social networks of friends, families and partners in order to survive. The paper concludes with some theoretical and policy implications of the findings for the artisanal and small-scale mining sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.

Beyond Political Settlements: The Global Political Economy of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Reforms

Terhemba Ambe-Uva

University of Ottawa, Canada

What happens if we look at the recent reforms in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry not just as political settlements but also as responses to global political-economic trends? This shift is productive, for it opens new ways of integrating global ecosystems analysis in policy responses towards the Covid-19 pandemic. After close to a 20-year effort to reform Nigeria's oil and gas sector, create a conducive environment for growth and address the grievances of oil-producing communities, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 was enacted into law. Even while the euphoria was yet to settle, the federal government submitted to parliament amendments to the newly signed bill to extend a debatable subsidy regime for imported petrol for eighteen months. Drawing on debates about how political settlements shape oil governance, this paper examines the flux in Nigeria's oil and gas sector reforms, focusing on the nature of elite bargains occasioned by changes in the global political economy of oil. It argues that while these bargains shaped the government of President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms, the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainties over global oil and gas, interacting with the election cycle, underpinned the most recent tinkering with the oil and gas sector reforms. The implication is that we need to understand political settlements beyond the national-state level by looking at trends in the broader global political economy. The findings have a significant impact on natural resource governance and post-Covid-19 reforms.

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