Monday 20 April 2015

China and India, the “Rising Powers” (RP) and their Role in African development: Challenges and Opportunities

China and India, the “Rising Powers” (RP) and their Role in African development: Challenges and Opportunities
Dr  Sumit  Roy

(also available on our new blog)

The growing ties between the Rising Powers (RP) of China and India, and the African continent have aroused much anxiety and hope. This is underscored by interaction at and between the global, regional and national levels.
In this context, this post will summarise some of the findings of my recent research which focuses on the nature of the shift in the strategic vision of China and India towards Africa that has occurred in recent years, from politics and ideology, to development. This is illustrated through observations of these relationships as they are manifested in Eastern and Southern Africa - with emphasis on the East African nation of Ethiopia, which as a case study encapsulates the desire of African nations to transform their economies. There are five sections to my analysis:
1.Globalization and the RP
This section covers the emergence of the two RP in the context of globalisation, and how their rise was underpinned by domestic and external forces.
2. The RP and Africa: strategic shifts
This unfolds the evidence for the shift in the strategic vision of the RP from ideology and politics to economic development.
3.The RP and Africa: trade and investment  
Elaborating upon Section 2, this discusses the growing ties between the RP and Africa through trade, investment and aid in the frame of economic, political and historical obstacles confronting African nations.
4.The RP and Africa-the national level
This theme is explored in depth. It reveals challenges faced at the national level through the case study of Ethiopia. To do so, here I show the measures employed induce transformation in an economy defined by dependence on agricultural exports, lack of basic infrastructure, poverty, reliance on aid, anxieties over governance,  and inter and intra state tensions.  
The nature of the relationship between the RP and Africa varies sharply from country to country, set in a historical frame. This is underscored by the economic structure of the countries and their capacity to shift from resource based (energy or mineral) or agricultural economies, to industrial and service centred economies. This, moreover, is intertwined with debates on the role of capitalism in ushering in development in Africa. The ties enable insights into the ways in which the state in Africa is pursuing economic change. The following themes are investigated:
i. Historical exposure to colonialism and post colonial challenges
ii. Developmental priorities of the state and the use of the state (public) and the market (private) towards them.
iii. Trade, investment and aid ties with the RP  to pave the way for structural change by:
  • increasing value added in the ‘traditional’ sector
  • enabling a shift to ‘modern’ and service sectors through domestic and international markets
  • distinguishing between ‘planned’ commitments and ‘actual’ investments by sector
  • redefining the nature of ‘structural change’ in relation to the needs and the history of specific nations
  • understanding more fully the critical links between the political economy of nations and their bargaining capacity vis a vis the RP  
Ethiopia, as a case study, offers insights into the interplay between African nations and the RP in the context of the structure of the economy and interaction with developed nations and international donors. The nation has been evolving strategic ties with the RP  while trying to conform to its own priorities and coping with deep-seated  domestic and external pressures. The costs and benefits, both short- and long-term, have to be carefully assessed in terms of the effects on the overall economy and specific sectors. The emphasis on infrastructure, basic industries, moving up the value chain, and more recently on large scale agriculture has to be seen in relation to enhancing competitiveness globally. In the short run it has to ensure sustained growth and low inflation while curbing poverty. The exchange with the RP, if carefully managed, could support such aims, although internal and external tensions, including from external donor agencies (eg. Bretton Woods institutions) to conform to market led ‘models’ of development, have to be tackled.
5. African Visions and the RP
In this final section of my analysis, I captures the ways in which the exchange between the RP and Africa impinges on the latter’s own visions of development in the frame of their colonial and post-colonial history. This requires measures at the global, the regional and the national level to induce structural change and development.  It is critical for African nations, individually and collectively, to evolve strategies to bolster their bargaining prowess vis a vis the RP.  Relevant issues for further investigation are posed.

About Dr. Roy:

Sumit Roy is a political economist. He holds a D.Phil (development studies) from the University of Sussex. He is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow, School of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India and formerly a Research Associate, Asia Research Institute, SOAS, University of London and a senior researcher, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.  His publications on  global and comparative political economy  include  Globalisation ICT and  Developing Nations: Challenges in the Information Age,  Sage and  Economic Progress and Prospects: Lessons of Development Experience Since 1945 (with Sir H. W. Singer). He has held teaching and research positions at institutions including the London School of Economics,  City University (UK), Delhi University (India), and several leading international organizations (UN, ILO, and the Economist Intelligence Unit).  

Our new website!

Juxtapose now has a new home:

We will continue to update here as well in the coming months, but changes will appear on our website first, as well as all latest news.

Our blog is now housed on that site as well, to enable a wider range of participants.

We hope you enjoy, and please share your thoughts.

Team Juxtapose.

Sunday 25 January 2015

JUXTAPOSE 2014, JNU. Day 2, Second half

Day 2, Session 3:
Chair: Dr. Ritu Agarwal
Discussants: Prof. B.S. Butola (Centre for the study of Regional Development, JNU); Prof. Shekhar Singh (Co-ordinator, National Campaign for Right to Information)
Presenters: Pin-Hsien Wu (University of Sussex); Prof. Rajeswari Sarala Raina (NISTADS-CSIR); Mahalakshmi Ganapathy and Dr. Sonika Gupta (IIT Madras).
The afternoon saw well-matched contributions from the social sciences on coal economies (Wu Pin-hsien. Sussex University, UK), agricultural transformation (Prof. Rajeswari Raina, JNU) and the mobilisation of the middle classes in both India and China (Prof. Sonika Gupta and Mahalakshmi Ganapathy of IIT Madras) to challenge black market or ‘informal” economies enabled by systemic corruption. This lead to insightful exploration of the relationship between informal and formal economic circulation during a period of development and the development of political movements in response to the changes to class and social systems that have occurred in their wake. A fiery debate ensued as to the role of the middle class in such social change.

Day 2, Session 4:
Chair: Prof. Barbara Harriss-White
Roundtable Discussion, Contributors: Dr. Rajeswari Sarala Raina; Ms. Shailly Kedia (TERI); Prof.Nimmi Kurian; Ms. Chen Yun (West Heavens Cross-Cultural Exchange Programme)
The second session of the afternoon featured a roundtable from practitioners involved in co-production projects, from environmental Delhi think tank TERI, and with rich contributions from the Delhi branch of New York’s New School, one of the few organisations that also focuses on scholars of India and China. Chen Yun of the PRC-based West Heavens cultural exchange project that has led the way in providing a conduit for intellectual and cultural understanding and blending between India and China, in effort to understand both the Other, and the self.

Day 2, Closing Session:
Industry Keynote: Mr. Subimal Bhattacharjee (Independent Consultant in Cyber Governance and Defence).
Closing Remarks: Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli.

This was then followed by a key note speech from defence and cyber consultant Mr. Subimal Bhattacharjee, who shared real world governance and business practice that presented another element to our exploration of praxis alongside academic endeavour. 

Saturday 3 January 2015

Juxtapose 2014 (25 September), JNU, New Delhi. Day 2 Sessions 1 & 2 Videos

Day 2
Day 2, Session 1:
Opening Remarks: Prof. Varun Sahni (SIS, JNU);
Keynote: Prof. Dhruv Raina (JNU)
Keynote Roundtable: Dr. Arik Moran; Prof. Dhruv Raina; Prof. S. Irfan Habib (Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Chair, NUEPA)

Day 2, Session 2:
Chair: Prof. Gupta
Discussants: Prof. Madhu Bhala (Delhi University); Prof. Nimmi Kurian (Centre for Policy Research)
Presenters: Anmol Mukhia (SIS, JNU); Dr. Aadya Shukla (MIT/Harvard)
After a fascinating keynote speech and roundtable on “The Needham Question” by eminent scholar Prof. Dhruv Raina, Day 2 was split between policy and strategy in the first half, and co-production practice in the second, followed by an industry keynote. Anmol Mukhia, a graduate student from JNU, and Dr. Aadya Shukla a computer scientist and member of the organising team based at MIT and Harvard, provided a complimentary, exciting session that contributed interesting insights, and one of the highlights of the conference. The former made a comparison between contemporary use of Sun Zi’s Art of War in national defence discourse in the PRC, and the use of the work of Indian political strategist Kautilya in the same context in India. Dr. Aadya Shukla, meanwhile, discussed the cyber security/cyber governance strategies of India and China in a comparative framework. This interlacing of strategic modes from ancient sources to the ever-changing fluidity of contemporary forms, proved very stimulating, and challenged both the ways in which ancient wisdom should and could be employed for contemporary threats, and the ways in which nations and their cyber realms can be understood. It also provided different but very enlightening methodological insights.

Friday 2 January 2015

Juxtapose 2014 (24 September), JNU, New Delhi. Videos of all sessions.

As always, our many thanks to the School of International Studies and School of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU for their kind support.

Our thanks too to our remarkable cameraman for his brilliant work!

Day One
Day 1, Session 1:
Opening Remarks: Prof. Anuradha Chenoy (Dean of School of International Studies, JNU); Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli (Centre for East Asian Studies, SIS, JNU)
Keynote: Barbara Harriss-White (University of Oxford)

Day 1, Session 2:
Chair: Prof. Ravni Thakur (Delhi University)
Discussants: Dr. Arik Moran (Haifa University) and Prof. Barbara Harriss-White
Presenters: Ashok Kumar (University of Oxford); Dr. Charlotte Goodburn (King’s College, London); DK de Feo-Giet (University of Oxford); Iris Ru-yu Lin (IIT Madras).
Day one was focused upon a phenomenon that both India and China have faced in the most dramatic way during this period of rapid development: internal economic migration. After the inspiring opening comments of Prof. Chenoy, and a challenging state-of-the-field address by Prof. Harriss-White, the first two sessions, combining social sciences and humanities papers, extensive fieldwork and analysis, contributors explored both the social effects of migrant labour on society and the migrants themselves. They further considered how the social status of migrants and their portrayal in media interact, while fundamentally rethinking the nature of migration, who is a migrant, and the costs and benefits to migrants, the economy and society at this juncture. Dr. Charlotte Goodburn tracked the effects of migration on girls’ wellbeing and education, while Ashok Kumar examined the delicately balanced relationship between labour and market in both countries. Danielle de Feo-Giet explored the ways in which popular film and culture provides opportunities for disaggregation of perceived “wave” of “floating” migrant workers, despite its normative features. Finally, a contribution from Iris Ru-Yu Lin, currently at IIT Madras, tracked the perceived benefits and costs of education systems on either side of the China/India border for Tibetan young people, and the implications for their quality of education, future, and feelings of Tibetan national identity.

Day 1, Session 3 & 4 Film Screenings:
Sharma, Surabhi dir. Bidesia in Bambai (2013)
Huang, Xiang, Xu, Ruotao & Sniadecki, JP (dir.) YUMEN (2013)
Discussants: Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik (School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU); Ms. Surabhi Sharma; Dr. Charlotte Goodburn; DK de Feo-Giet.

The afternoon session expanded upon this theme with the screening of two experimental documentaries: Bidesia in Bambai by Surabhi Sharma, and YUMEN by Xu Ruotao, Xiang Wei and JP Sniadecki. These films, both already much-lauded, show different ends of the movement of peoples as a consequence of rapid economic change. Bidesia in Bambai presents a vibrant musical culture formed in the unique crucible formed by the Bhojpuri speaking community in Mumbai, where urban life is produced by those living at close quarters on the edge of the city. The film is rich in sound and sonic effects. Sonic effects also play an important role in the creation of atmosphere in YUMEN, which portrays the emptiness of the town of the title after the transfer of oil workers to more economically viable locations. It is a study in loneliness, emptiness, and alienation, with a strange sense of displaced nostalgia, that speaks to the space left behind as bodies gather in other places where money can be made. The discussions following the screening with panellists Dr. Charlotte Goodburn, Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik, Ms. Surabhi Sharma, and Danielle K.J. de Feo-Giet, explored the implications of examining these films in light of the day’s presentations, and how film as a practice can function for comparison and for portrayal of this important social phenomenon. 

Weaving New Stories: Interviews with Musicians from Juxtapose 2014 and Concert videos

One of the highlights of Juxtapose 2014 was:

Weaving New Stories, an evening of arts inspired by India, China and the Spaces Between.

Day 1 concluded with an evening concert featuring original music composed and performed by JNU students and professional musicians, alongside spoken word readings and visual arts by Santiniketan-based artist Wu Weixing. The programme was focused on relations between India and China and their border regions, and expressed profoundly the bittersweet nature of such experiences. The concert was managed and orchestrated by JNU graduate student and member of the organising committee Zhang Yang. 

Performers in alphabetical order: Shri Sukanta Bhajpayee (Tabla), Luna Moni Das, Danielle de Feo-Giet (both Spoken Word), Tsetan Dolkar (Voice and spoken word), Anandajit Goswami (Composition, Raga and Voice), Ringzin Lamo (Voice),  Saransh Sugandh (Composition and Voice), Ma Yuge (Spoken Word), Dr. Vishal (Sitar), Yoko Watanabe (Flute), and Zhang Yang (Guitar and Voice). 

Visual Artist: Wu Weixing.

MCs: Dr. Aadya Shukla and Tsetan Dolkar.

Videos of the event and interviews with the musicians are below:

The Concert:

Tuesday 30 December 2014

JUXTAPOSE now a supported project of Global Policy Journal

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Thank you to Global Policy Journal for selecting us.