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The Politics of Neoliberal Reforms in Africa

State and civil society in Cameroon

by Piet Konings

Neoliberalism has become the dominant development agenda in Africa. Faced with a deep economic and political crisis, African governments have been compelled by powerful external agencies, in particular the Bretton Woods institutions and western states, to pursue this agenda as a necessary precondition for the receipt of development aid. What is particularly striking in Africa, however, is that neoliberal experiments there have displayed such remarkable diversity. This may be due not only to substantial differences in historical, economic and political trajectories on the African continent but also, and maybe more importantly, in the degree of resistance internal actors have demonstrated to the neoliberal reforms imposed on them.

This book focuses on Cameroon which has had a complex economic and political history and is currently witnessing resistance to the neoliberal experiment by the authoritarian and neopatrimonial state elite and various civil-society groups. It is the culmination of over twenty years of fine and refined research by one of the leading scholars of Cameroon today.

ISBN 9789956717415 | 346 pages | 216 x 140 mm | 2011 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback



“This book is a condensation of Piet Konings’ impressive scholarship. It conveys the full riches of two tortuous decades in Cameroon: from neo-liberalism’s onslaught to the indocility of motor-taxi drivers, from new Chinese interests to the old feud with neighbour Nigeria over Bakassi and its oil: it is all there! A captivating collection: solid research , yet most entertaining and full of surprises.”

Peter Geschiere, Professor for the Anthropology of Africa, University of Amsterdam



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