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Extracting Profit: Neoliberalism, Imperialism and the New Scramble for Africa (Book Launch)

Bush House, Strand Campus, London

21 Nov africiatalkmainpic

Speaker: Lee Wengraf and Elisa Greco

In the first decade and a half of the twenty-first century, Africa has undergone an economic boom. Rising global prices in oil and minerals have produced a scramble for Africa’s natural resources, led by investment from US, European and Chinese companies, and joined by emerging economies from around the globe. Rather than job creation, this period of “Africa rising” has fuelled the extraction of natural resources, profits accruing to global capital, and an increasingly wealthy African ruling class. Extracting Profit argues that the roots of today’s social and economic conditions lie in the historical legacies of colonialism and the imposition of so-called “reforms” by global financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The chokehold of debt and austerity of the late twentieth century paved the way for severe assaults on African working classes through neoliberal privatization and deregulation. And while the scramble for Africa’s resources has heightened the pace of ecological devastation, examples from Somalia and the West African Ebola outbreak reveal a frightening surge of militarization on the part of China and the US. Yet this “new scramble” has not gone unchallenged. Lee Wengraf convincingly shows this with her accounts of platinum workers’ struggles in South Africa, Nigerian labour organizing and pro-democracy upheavals in Uganda and Burkina Faso.


Lee Wengraf is a writer and activist in New York City. Her articles have appeared in International Socialist Review, Socialist Worker, Review of African Political Econonomy, Red Pepper, Pambazuka News, AllAfrica, Jacobin, Truthout, Green Left Weekly, and the Indypendent.

Elisa Greco is a post-doc researcher at the University of Leeds working on the political economy of food and agriculture in Africa. Her co-edited collection Uganda: The Dynamics of Neoliberal Transformation is forthcoming with Zed Books.


The Seminar in Contemporary Marxist Theory is a speaker series organised by King’s College London (Departments of European and International Studies, Geography and French; School of Management & Business), Queen Mary University of London (Law), and Loughborough University London (Institute for International Management). All seminars are open to the public. No registration is required. 

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