Article

The Hidden Economy: Informal and Parallel Trade in Northwestern Uganda

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Abstract

This study of informal and parallel trade in Uganda's Arua District shows that such trade has a long history back through colonialism. Its roots do not lie in the distortions of post‐colonial state intervention, as the current conventional view would have it, but in the activities of the colonial state in imposing borders and divergent currencies and in implementing trading networks. More recently and as part of adjustment programmes, attempts to shift incomes from traders to farmers, by raising producer prices and taxing traders’ incomes, have resulted in traders shifting to parallel markets over the border in Zaire. One such market in Ariwara is analysed and shown to involve trade in visible manufacturers and foodstuffs and more crucially in gold, US dollars and coffee. Conventional views that parallel trade is limited to export crops, and that such cross‐border smuggling is on barter terms, are shown to be greatly mistaken, given the existence of a multi‐product market lubricated by a sophisticated multi‐currency and gold market. In conditions of shortage, where alternative supply channels exist, policies of ‘structural adjustment’ which fail to take the basis of these parallel markets into account, will not succeed.

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... Young 1994;Fortes 1945, 231). Social or identity networks and relationships may encourage informality through the behavioral or social pressures of negotiation, exchange, redistribution, and reciprocity (Olivier de Sardan 1999), or through the enabling of "rational commercial organization and cooperation" (Meagher 2010, 169; see also Meagher 1990;Curtin 1971;Austen 1987;Hopkins 1973;Raeymaekers 2010;Kinyanjui 2013). As described by Walther (2015, 5), the capacity of "social actors" to cross the border "depends very much on their social network, in particular the informal ties they maintain with state representatives, which ensure that crossing borders will not be too costly, lengthy and risky". ...
... The literature on "real" governance practices has included substantial debate of the term "informal" centering both on what is mean by "informal" and whether this terms is appropriate at all in a context in which the so-called "informal" is, in fact, widely accepted and normalised, while being highly integrated with the "formal" (cf. Meagher 1990Meagher , 2005Roitman 1990Roitman , 2005Klein 1999;Hart 2005;Cantens 2012). Throughout our discussion, we recognize the importance of this definitional debates, using the term "informal" in a relatively straightforward and value-free manner, simply to refer to process that are outside of statutory legal frameworks. ...
... Indeed, the literature on "real" governance practices has included substantial debate of the term "informal" centering both on what is mean by "informal" and whether this terms is appropriate at all in a context in which the so-called "informal" is, in fact, widely accepted and normalized, while being highly integrated with the "formal" (cf. Meagher 1990Meagher , 2005Roitman 1990Roitman , 2005Klein 1999;Hart 2005;Cantens 2012). Throughout our discussion, we recognize the importance of this definitional debates, using the term "informal" in a relatively straightforward and value-free manner, simply to refer to process that are outside of statutory legal frameworks. ...
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Article
Recent research has cast light on the variety of informal payments and practices that govern the day-to-day interactions between traders and customs agents at border posts in low-income countries. Building on this literature, this paper draws on survey and qualitative evidence in an effort to explore which groups are most advantaged and disadvantaged by the largely informal processes and norms governing cross-border trade. We find that variation in strategies and outcomes across traders can only be effectively understood with reference to the importance of norms, networks, power, and the logic of control.
... Informality also has significant regional dimensions, with informal transborder trade dominating the political economy of the country's borderlands. This is particularly important in the territory surrounding the South Sudan-Uganda border, where estimates for the annual volume of informal flows frequently surpass official figures for those passing through formal channels, reaching hundreds of millions of dollars each year and making South Sudan Uganda's largest trading partner (Meagher 1990; Such an understanding of informal economic activity is conceptually inadequate. Market-based globalization cannot be separated from informality; rather, it both produces and depends on it to function. ...
... humanitarian agencies-the rapid expansion of informal markets and the establishment of new trade links (FEG and SI 2013;Jeffery 2013;Maxwell et al. 2012;WFP 2014). Informal transborder trade between cross-border communities with historical economic links-often defined by shared ethnic identities-played an integral role in livelihood support during the conflict and remains a defining feature of the political economy of South Sudan's borderlands (Martin and Sluga 2011;Meagher 1990;Schomerus and Titeca 2012). Indeed, conflict has been a key force between the monetization of rural livelihoods in South Sudan in the first place (Leonardi 2011), facilitating an important transition from "traditional" forms of production and exchange to monetary-based informal activities. ...
... Indeed, conflict has been a key force between the monetization of rural livelihoods in South Sudan in the first place (Leonardi 2011), facilitating an important transition from "traditional" forms of production and exchange to monetary-based informal activities. Conflict and coping mechanisms, rather than overly burdensome government regulation, are the keys to understanding rural informality in South Sudan, and economic liberalization is unlikely to do anything more than strengthen existing informal activities (Meagher 2010 and1990). ...
... Young 1994;Fortes 1945, 231). Social or identity networks and relationships may encourage informality through the behavioral or social pressures of negotiation, exchange, redistribution, and reciprocity (Olivier de Sardan 1999), or through the enabling of "rational commercial organization and cooperation" (Meagher 2010, 169; see also Meagher 1990;Curtin 1971;Austen 1987;Hopkins 1973;Raeymaekers 2010;Kinyanjui 2013). As described by Walther (2015, 5), the capacity of "social actors" to cross the border "depends very much on their social network, in particular the informal ties they maintain with state representatives, which ensure that crossing borders will not be too costly, lengthy and risky". ...
... The literature on "real" governance practices has included substantial debate of the term "informal" centering both on what is mean by "informal" and whether this terms is appropriate at all in a context in which the so-called "informal" is, in fact, widely accepted and normalised, while being highly integrated with the "formal" (cf. Meagher 1990Meagher , 2005Roitman 1990Roitman , 2005Klein 1999;Hart 2005;Cantens 2012). Throughout our discussion, we recognize the importance of this definitional debates, using the term "informal" in a relatively straightforward and value-free manner, simply to refer to process that are outside of statutory legal frameworks. ...
... Indeed, the literature on "real" governance practices has included substantial debate of the term "informal" centering both on what is mean by "informal" and whether this terms is appropriate at all in a context in which the so-called "informal" is, in fact, widely accepted and normalized, while being highly integrated with the "formal" (cf. Meagher 1990Meagher , 2005Roitman 1990Roitman , 2005Klein 1999;Hart 2005;Cantens 2012). Throughout our discussion, we recognize the importance of this definitional debates, using the term "informal" in a relatively straightforward and value-free manner, simply to refer to process that are outside of statutory legal frameworks. ...
... As Behuria et al. (2017) have noted, it is through the role of informal institutions that political settlement scholarship explains how de-facto power can remain misaligned with formal institutions for a considerable amount of time. In the context of developing countries, this aspect is particularly important as the legacy of colonial regimes typically not only manifested in formal institutions, but also in a broad array of informal institutions left behind by pre-colonial systems and developing alongside formal ones (Meagher 2010;forthcoming). Crucially, as discussed above, political settlement scholarship diverges from NIE in arguing that informal institutions and the resulting rent streams are not necessarily incompatible with stable, inclusive and developmental political settlements (Khan 2010). ...
... while some informal rules explicitly subvert formal procedures, they may also help achieve outcomes that formal institutions were designed to achieve. "And although accommodating informal institutions such as informal power-sharing arrangements help actors violate the spirit of the formal rules, they may generate outcomes (democratic stability) that are viewed as broadly beneficial" (Helmke and Levitsky 2004, 730 status of informal institutions with respect to their efficiency (Assaad 1993a;Meagher 2008;Roitman 1990;Cheng and Gereffi 1994), scope (Benería and Roldán 1987;Cheng and Gereffi 1994;Lovejoy 1980) and complexity (Robertson 1987; Meagher 2018a), should be taken as an empirical question, rather than a theoretical assumption. Historically grounded analyses have argued that rather than having emerged in the absence of or in competition to formal institutions, informal institutions are commonly the "manifestations of aspects of a pre-existing institutional structure that the new order failed to fully displace" (Assaad 1993a, 926), and are therefore not only deeply entangled with modern formal institutions (Roitman 1990;Rothchild and Chazan 1989;O. ...
... "Far from creating new sites of power", Meagher argues, "these networks have played a key role in consolidating state power, using symbiotic relations between political and clandestine commercial elites to oil patron-client networks and mobilize electoral support for those in power" (Meagher 2014b, 14). In addition to the question of a shift of the locus of regulatory power between the domestic centre and periphery, the question also emerges whether the embedding of regulatory arrangements around cross-border informal trade within international trade structures moves the locus of power beyond the periphery, and into the sphere of international value chains and global trade structures (Meagher 2003;Raeymaekers 2012b). ...
Thesis
This project explores the political economy of informal and illegal cross-border trade in North Africa, focusing in particular on Tunisia’s border with Libya, and Morocco’s North-East bordering Algeria and the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Based on extensive fieldwork, the project traces the informal institutions that regulate smuggling across the region, examines the resulting rent streams, and analyses their relationship to the region’s states through a political settlement framework. Following shifts in the domestic politics of Tunisia and Morocco as well as the regional border infrastructure, the project also traces the recent re-negotiation of the role of smuggling in the region. It argues that contrary to common assumptions, smuggling rarely occurs 'under the radar' of the state, but is instead embedded in a tight network of institutional regulation in which the regions' states play a key role. Furthermore, rather than subverting states, smuggling activities are a central feature of the region’s political settlements. The project highlights that the ability of different groups to navigate and negotiate the terms of their inclusion into these settlements is highly uneven, posing serious challenges for borderland populations.
... In the 1990s, social networks gained prominence in social science research. Working with this concept enables the tracing of informal organisational processes (Meagher, 2010: 23), and it has since been used to examine smuggling (Meagher, 1990) and other forms of behaviour (including corruption) that violate the laws or regulations of the state. ...
... These networks also protect these local actors in their dealings with large-scale smugglers. The literature on the smuggling of minerals or other goods focuses predominantly on explaining how people breach official or state regulations (Deardorff and Stopler, 1990;Hilson and Potter, 2003;Meagher, 1990;MacGaffey, 1991;Titeca and De Herdt, 2010). This thesis adds to this debate by demonstrating that creuseurs and mine-based négociants also rely on the same networks to cheat in their dealings with the smugglers. ...
... As we went to Sudan we lost, we lost that social network. What they did was to adopt an individual way of existing, everybody for himself … As we came [back], that bushman-like behaviour of people [continued], very rude … guns were rampant, there were guns everywhere. 2 Cross-border networks nevertheless facilitated the involvement of many borderlanders in the increasingly lucrativeif riskyinformal or illegal magendo economy from the 1970s onwards (Meagher, 1990). In the early 1980s, returning Sudanese refugees were able to use 'friendships' built in Uganda or Zaire to conduct illicit cross-border trade (Merkx, 2000, p. 4). ...
... Traders flourished while those living in spaces through which the goods flowed struggled, including at the hands of rebel groups like the West Nile Bank Front (Leopold, 2005). The bus companies, hotels and grand homes built by the tycoons were a visible symbol of emergent inequality (Meagher, 1990). The deployment of the Ugandan army to DRC from 1998 also saw more Ugandan state and military actors employed in the trade (Titeca, 2012, p. 36). ...
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Article
African borderlands – such as those between South Sudan, Uganda and Congo – are often presented by analysts as places of agency and economic opportunity, in contrast to hardened, securitized borders elsewhere. We emphasize, however, that even such relatively porous international borders can nevertheless be the focus of significant unease for borderland communities. Crossing borders can enable safety for those fleeing conflict or trading prospects for businesspeople, but it can also engender anxieties around the unchecked spread of insecurity, disease and economic exploitation. Understanding this ambiguous construction of borders in the minds of their inhabitants requires us, we argue, to look beyond statist or globalizing discourses and to appreciate the moral economies of borderlands, and how they have been discursively and epistemologically negotiated over time. Narratives around witchcraft and the occult represent, we argue, a novel and revealing lens through which to do so and our study draws on years of fieldwork and archival research to underline how cartographies of witchcraft in this region are, and have long been, entangled with the construction of state political geographies, internal as well as international.
... On the one hand, a body of political science literature continues to address the ostensibly "criminal" nature of cross border exchange, but in doing so refers to a rather monolithic understanding of (political) culture. Protagonists of this approach have been the French scholars Patrick Chabal and Pascal Daloz, who depict the state 2 in such environments as "no more than a décor, a pseudo-Western façade masking the realities of deeply personalized political realities" (Chabal and Daloz 1999: 15-16, Allen 1999, Reno 1998, Reyntjens 2005. 1 On the other hand, a number of ethnographic and sociological studies have tried with varying success to root the social regulations underpinning everyday border practices in cross-border agency (Meagher 1990, Nugent and Asiwaju 1996, Flynn 1997, Chalfin 2001, Lentz 2003, Titeca 2006. If anything, this literature has brought to the fore a number of crucial questions regarding the configuration of states and markets in Africa worth discussing from a comparative perspective (see also Callaghy et al. 2001). ...
... Borders are said to produce heterogeneous 3 institutions characterized by the coexistence of starkly different political cultures and regulatory logics, but which continue to depend on the idea of the state for their proper existence (Lund 2006). Specifically with regard to borders, some authors have added that the logic of social action in this domain is driven by a number of microregulations that are to a different degree encapsulated by the state (Meagher 1990, Titeca and de Herdt 2010. However, the existence of "twilight" institutions does not provide much of an explanation of why such systems of trans-territorial accumulation and regulation should systematically persist -or for that matter, dwindle 2 -in today's global capitalist order. ...
Chapter
Plural BoundariesCross-Border RegulationThe Politics of ScaleConclusion References
... Officials were unpaid, so they took bribes or 'moonlighted' by setting up private schools or health centres, thus effectively privatising state services; (Munene, 1995;) and farmers and traders evaded state controls by smuggling goods across borders, (Brett, 1993, ch. 4;Bunker, 1985;Meagher, 1990) These changes undermined the authority of the regime and its bureaucratic apparatus, but also created a 'real economy' and a new capitalist class that was governed by market forces rather than state regulations. (Callaghy, 1984;McGaffey, 1987) They also reinforced the role and authority of voluntary and traditional institutions, since international and local 21 See Brett (1995): 140ff;Mutibwa (1991: 148ff);Omara Otunnu (1987 NGOs provided public goods, the churches provided the best health facilities, Parent Teachers Associations took control of schools; and 'traditional' justice systems re-emerged to impose law and order. ...
... The collapse of the state apparatus and formal economy meant that the NRM inherited a 'real' but informal and illegal market economy consisting of capitalist firms run by modern elites that had used their political and bureaucratic links to finance their businesses and evade state controls, and a dense array of small and micro enterprises based on kinship networks that served local and international markets. (Brett, 1993;MacGaffey, 1991;Meagher, 1990) The donor programme then liberated the emergent African capitalist class from the constraints imposed on it by earlier statist and predatory regimes, by liberalising markets, encouraging foreign investment, protecting property rights, privatising SOEs, devaluing the currency, imposing fiscal discipline, and cutting inflation, Their focus then shifted from structural reforms to poverty alleviation in the 1990 s, and to a far stronger emphasis on 'industrial policy for economic transformation' after formal conditionality ended in 2005. (Behuria, 2021;Golooba-Mutebi, 2020). ...
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Conflicted African societies are confronting a crisis of public authority caused by the ethnic, sectarian and class conflicts generated by their ongoing transitions from authoritarian to liberal democratic institutional systems. Most have introduced competitive elections which have rarely produced stable and inclusive political outcomes, discrediting the dominant liberal democratic state-building agenda. We draw on classical ‘dualist’ and ‘new institutionalist’ theorists to explain these failures and suggest alternative strategies. They attribute these tensions to the co-existence of contradictory liberal and illiberal rules and cultural systems that interact in dissonant ways in hybrid social orders, and they enable us to develop a ‘society-centric historical methodology’ that attributes their ability or inability to achieve democratic statehood to the ability of their regimes to build inclusive and hybrid political settlements and organisational structures that reconcile the competing demands of modern and traditional elites and subordinate classes. We then demonstrate the utility of this approach by using it to explain Uganda’s transition from a stable, but dualistic colonial state, to a predatory dictatorship and then to a relatively successful competitive autocracy.
... If they had, they would have noticed that the new 'research strategies and methodologies to capture the dynamics of the second economy's regionalisms' have long since been developed (Bøås et al. 1999). 1 In West Africa, these research methods have given rise to an extensive empirical literature dating from the late 1970s on the history, organiza- tion, and quantification of informal cross-border trade, leavened by heated debates over its implications for regional integration and economic development (Asiwaju 1976;Igue 1977;Amselle & Gregoire 1988;Lambert 1989;Coste et al. 1991;Egg & Igue 1993;Harre & Engola Oyep 1992;Meagher & Ogunwale 1994;Meagher 1997;Hashim & Meagher 1997). A reasonably accessible litera- ture also exists for East and Central Africa ( MacGaffey 1987MacGaffey , 1991Nabuguzi 1994;Maliyanmkono & Bagachwa 1990;Kasfir 1984;Singh 1986;Meagher 1990), and Southern Africa (Meagher 1993;dos Santos 1990;Mupedziswa & Gumbo 1998). ...
... Historically, the border town Arua has been a regional smuggle centre, facilitated by the presence of three borders (Uganda, DRC, South Sudan), weak border infrastructure, close connections between ethnic groups on various sides of the border, refugee streams and different tax regimes (Meagher 1990;Titeca 2009). Starting in the late 70s and early 80s, this trade has led to the establishment of a range of what are locally called 'tycoons' or 'Arua boys' in Uganda: Ugandan traders active in the illegal crossborder trade, dealing in a wide portfolio of illegal goods such as petrol, minerals, sugar, clothes, batteries and so on (Titeca 2012). ...
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Article
This article examines illegal ivory trade in Uganda, which constitutes a major transport route through which ivory exits Africa. The analysis is based on empirical data collected among illegal ivory traders between 2012 and 2017. The findings unpack the notion of illegal ivory trade as 'transnational organized crime', by showing its reliance on local and regional connections, in which 'nodes' are crucial. These nodes can be both traders (such as middlemen), and locations (such as border towns), connecting these various levels. In doing so, it shows how this trade functions in a decentralized and loose fashion. There are clear power differences between the traders, which is explained through the kind of connections with government officials.
... Concretely, the movement had its main base in the important trading markets of Aru and Ariwara in northeastern Congo, on the border with Uganda. These markets connect eastern Congo with regional and international markets and are also used as distributional points for goods into eastern Congo (Meagher 1990;Titeca 2009a). Many of the goods that arrive in the area are also subsequently smuggled back into Uganda; in other words, Aru and Ariwara act as mere entrepôts for these items, whose final (illegal) destination is Uganda, where additional profits are readily made (Titeca 2009a). ...
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Article
This article discusses the impact of economic resources on the behaviour of an armed group. The availability of resources, and the presence of “lootable” resources in particular, is presumed to have a negative impact on the way an armed group behaves toward the civilian population. The case of the Armed Forces of the Congolese People (Forces Armées du Peuple Congolais, FAPC) in eastern Congo strongly suggests that it is necessary to look beyond this monocausal argument so as to witness the range of other factors at work. In this vein, first, the article demonstrates how the political economy literature underestimates the ease of accessibility of lootable resources. The paper then shows how the behaviour of this armed group was tied to a particular economic interest: In order to access these lootable goods, the FAPC was dependent on pre-established trading networks, so it had to increase the predictability of economic interactions through the construction of a minimum of social and economic order. Second, the article reveals how the political economy literature can underestimate the specific conflict dynamics. Military security in particular has a strong impact in this context.
... Businesses often keep separate sets of records (Dyer and Mortensen 2005), assuming they choose to keep records at all. A lot of cash transactions and, to a lesser extent, barter transactions (Gaughan and Ferman 1987;Meagher 1990) have been reported in the informal sector relative to cheque and 'on account' transactions. These practices reflect the general lack of formal documentation, which subsequently acts as an obstacle to securing capital from formal institutions such as commercial banks (Siqueira and Bruton 2010). ...
Article
Despite its connotations of non-compliance, illegality, social exploitation and marginality, the informal sector is a substantial contributor to economic life in developing countries and, increasingly, in more technologically advanced activities. Its prevalence in developed economies has also become more widely recognized. In light of its significance, this paper reviews research on the informal sector from a management and organization scholarship perspective, rather than from an entrepreneurship view, as has been the focus until now. It sets out the atypical management practices that are inherent in the sector, explores the under-researched relationship between formal and informal firms, and highlights definitional, conceptual and other limitations in extant research. As a step in resolving these issues, the authors present a conceptual model of formality and informality in a three-dimensional framework that highlights an organizational infrastructure dimension, a view of firms operating along a continuum, and a multi-level analytical context. Building on this, the authors detail opportunities for enhanced appreciation of in situ management and organizational practices in the informal sector and outline tools for pursuing a management and organization scholarship agenda. Overall, the authors argue that management scholarship has great potential to improve understanding of the informal sector, and that the informal sector provides opportunities to advance management theory, research and practice.
... The monopolistic control of a dominant resource sector limits the scope of economic actors who are able to accumulate wealth and status (see Meagher 1990;Le Billon 2001;Mortenson and Relin 2006). Those who are excluded from the patronage would either overtly resist the rebels or go underground; 6 a high barrier or prohibition to engaging in formal economic activities discourages economic actors from staying in those sectors strictly regulated by the rebels. ...
Article
In civil war, rebel groups play a central role as a regulator in the management of civilian economic activities in their territory of control. While previous studies have intensively researched the impact of economic conditions on the war process and dynamics, little attention has been paid to the variation in economic policies adopted by the rebels. This paper conceptualizes the types of regulation policies imposed by the rebels against civilian economic activities and theorizes patterns and particular measures of (non)regulation taken by the rebel groups: formal regulation, deliberate connivance, and laissez-faire. The degree of economic intervention by the rebels is contingent on the extent of economic informalization within the territory and the relative capability of the economic sector. When the sector involves a large portion of the population and is densely networked, its economic potential comes to be perceived by the rebels as a threat to their incumbency. Such a threat compels them to undertake measures of regulation. In contrast, if the level of informalization is low or civilian activities are poorly backed by their network, the threat perceived by the rebels is less, in addition to which, formal regulation against such a loosely organized sector to effectively control civilian activities would be too costly. This paper proposes a number of research agendas on wartime rebel economies and their broader relevance to international relations and political science: mechanisms of rebel economies, rent and the resource curse, the process of civil-rebel relations, and rebel governance. It concludes by advancing implications for policy development; policymakers need to be scrupulous about the effectiveness of (neo)liberal economic policies in conflict-affected societies and to design postwar reconstruction by taking into consideration the legacy of rebel economies.
... By the early 1970s the perception had become widespread that policy measures had failed to trigger a growth process where the 'informal sector' expanded at the expense of the 'formal sector', despite decades of massive policy efforts in developing nations, (Lewis 1954;Polanyi 1957;Geertz 1963;Hart 1973). From the traditional dualistic economic view this is puzzling because, on the one hand, there was a high productive formal sector, eager to expand, whereas on the other hand, there was a low productive informal sector, where labour was abundant and the people poor (Meagher 1990). Dyer and Singh (1998) try to explain this by the 'relational view' between formal and informal sectors, posing that formal sectors encouraged and transacted with informal sectors, which was not governed by contractual specification, to gain competitive rents. ...
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Chapter
This chapter presents a framework for informal economies in developing nations. It will explain linkages with the formal economies of both developing and developed nations as a function of national competitiveness . We develop propositions which explain how the dynamics and growth of the informal economy in developing nations are linked to the growth of the formal economy of developing/developed nations. The chapter illustrates the framework with the case of Jaipur Rugs and concludes with suggestions for future research in an under researched area of the informal economy.
... By the early 1970s the perception had become widespread that despite decades of massive policy efforts in developing nations, policy measures had failed to trigger a growth process where the 'informal sector' expanded at the expense of the 'formal sector' (Lewis, 1954(Lewis, , 1958Polanyi, 1957;Geertz, 1963;Hart, 1973) . The traditional dualistic economic view pointed at this puzzle because, on the one hand, there was a high productive formal sector, eager to expand, whereas on the other hand, there was a low productive informal sector, where labour was abundant and the people poor (Meagher, 1990). Dyer and Singh (1998) reasoned this by the 'relational view' between formal and informal sectors, posing that formal sectors encouraged and transacted with informal sectors, which was not governed by contractual specification, to gain competitive rents. ...
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Conference Paper
The paper presents a framework for informal economy in developing nation context to explain its linkages with formal economy of developing and developed world. The growth of informal economy in developing nations is a function of national competitiveness and is influenced by formal economy of developed and developing nations. We develop propositions to explain how the dynamics and growth of informal economy, in developing nations, is linked to the growth of formal economy of developing/developed nations. The paper concludes with a few suggestions for future research into an under researched area of informal economy.
... Colonial intervention, which tried to tax long-standing economic interactions, pushed much of this trade into informality. In Uganda's postcolonial period, refugee movements across the different borders further encouraged cross-border interactions (see Titeca 2009a ; Meagher 1990 ). Finally, the collapse of the Ugandan economy in the 1970s, the lack of a clear policy to address the costs of structural adjustment programs , and rising poverty levels pushed the economy countrywide into the informal sector (Muwonge, Obwana, & Nambwayoo 2007 ) and the border region of West Nile into the informal cross-border trade. ...
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Article
By looking at a number of different commodities and how they are traded, this article shows how informal cross-border trade in West Nile and Panyimur, Uganda, is governed by a locally negotiated system of hybrid governance, in which neither state nor nonstate actors have a regulatory monopoly. Notions such as legality and illegality are secondary to the functioning of these hybrid institutions, which instead are the outcome of perceptions of the legitimacy of regulatory actions and trading practices and the power configurations of the actors involved. There are different “registers” at play about what constitutes legitimate economic action among different moral communities, but the actual impact of this system depends on the power of the strategic groups involved. En regardant un certain nombre de produits différents et la faç;on dont ils sont négociés, cet article montre comment le commerce informel transfrontalier dans la région du Nil occidental et le Panyimur est régi par un système négocié localement de gouvernance hybride, dans lequel les acteurs qui ont un monopole réglementaire ne proviennent ni de l’intérieur ni de l’extérieur du pouvoir d’Etat. Des notions telles que la légalité et l’illégalité sont secondaires pour le fonctionnement de ces institutions hybrides, qui sont plutôt le résultat de la perception de légitimité des mesures de réglementation, des pratiques commerciales et des configurations de puissance des acteurs impliqués. Il existe différents “registres” en jeu parmi les différentes communautés morales sur ce qui constitue la légitimité d’une action économique, mais l’impact réel de ce système dépend de la puissance des groupes stratégiques impliqués.
... Coming from the trade and smuggling hub of Arua in West Nile, Uganda (Titeca 2006;Titeca and de Herdt 2010;Meagher 1990) and passing the Kakwa's ancestral land of Koboko where Idi Amin came from (Leopold 2005(Leopold , 2006, one arrives in Oraba where the border with South Sudan is at the bottom of the slope. Sometimes there are long lines of trucks waiting for clearance to cross into the booming import economy of Southern Sudan (Picture 4.1). 1 On the other side of the bridge over the Kaya stream, a signpost welcomes people to Southern Sudan. ...
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Thesis
This study investigates daily performance of power in a post-conflict society and argues that the overall process of state-building in South Sudan cannot be properly understood in separation from the ways in which state power is locally exercised. It specifically analyzes South Sudan’s political transformation from the vantage point of the everyday practice of state agents in the border area with DR Congo and Uganda. Competition between government agencies and confrontations with counterparts across international borders continuously shape how the South Sudanese state manifests itself. Also, state agents’ claim to authority is rarely only based on formal mandate but blended with negotiated claims originating in their personal trajectories. The research concludes that state-building in South Sudan started long before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. The roots of this process do not originate in the political centre Juba, but in the border area where the SPLM/A established control nearly a decade earlier.
... The impact of regional demand and informal trade on the prices in the exporting country has received little attention in the literature. In the past, Uganda had closer informal trade links with Kenya (Ackello-Ogutu and Echessah, 1997) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Meagher, 1990) more than any other regional country. However, the return to peace in Northern Uganda coupled with the CPA in South Sudan provided the incentive for improved cross-border trade between Uganda and the South Sudan (International Alert, 2014). ...
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Article
Purpose This study examines the potential role of money supply and agricultural informal cross border trade in Uganda’s food price processes. Design/methodology/approach The econometric analysis is based on two separate but complementary approaches: vector error correction modeling and Granger Causality testing. Findings Results indicate that long run domestic food prices adjust to money supply, agricultural output, and exchange rate movements. However, findings do not provide sufficient evidence to support the proposition that agricultural informal cross border trade is an important long run driver of food price in Uganda. The pair-wise Granger causality test results reveal a unidirectional causality from food prices to agricultural output; unidirectional causality from money supply to food prices; bidirectional causality between food prices and nominal exchange rates; unidirectional causality running from rainfall to food prices; and unidirectional causality running from informal agricultural cross border trade to agricultural output. Originality/value The major innovation in this paper is the attempt to model demand side determinants of food prices by focusing on the role of money and informal cross border trade.
... In the past, informality was problematised because of its systemic tax avoidance and the flouting of commercial regulations (Meagher, 1990). The traditional aim of development policy was to regularise informality. ...
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This paper provides a critical analysis of post-humanitarianism with reference to adaptive design. At a time when precarity has become a global phenomenon, the design principle has sidelined the need for, or even the possibility of, political change. Rather than working to eliminate precarity, post-humanitarianism is implicated in its reproduction and governance. Central here is a historic change in how the human condition is understood. The rational Homo economicus of modernism has been replaced by progressive neoliberalism’s cognitively challenged and necessarily ignorant Homo inscius . Solidarity with the vulnerable has given way to conditional empathy. Rather than structural outcomes to be protected against, not only are humanitarian crises now seen as unavoidable, they have become positively developmental. Post-humanitarianism no longer provides material assistance – its aim is to change the behaviour of the precariat in order to optimise its social reproduction. Together with the construction of logistical mega-corridors, this process is part of late-capitalism’s incorporation of the vast informal economies of the global South. Building on progressive neoliberalism’s antipathy towards formal structures and professional standards, through a combination of behavioural economics, cognitive manipulation and smart technology, post-humanitarianism is actively involved in the elimination of the very power to resist.
... Because work that suffers from Decent Work deficits in the informal economy most often includes marginalized communities, those who are exploited and discriminated against, and forced to work in indecent work conditions, a common notion is that those who continue to work in the informal economy do so for lack of choice (Anker et al., 2003;Fields, 1975;Hart, 2006;). This coincides with narratives that support ideas of the informal economy as being illegal (Meagher, 1990), illicit (Venkatesh, 2006), and exploitative (Sassen-Koob, 1989). However, as has been widely acknowledged in management and social sciences (for instance, Godfrey, 2011), the sheer diversity of informal economies begs the question of whether many who continue to stay in the informal economy due so of their own wilful volition. ...
Article
Over 61% of the world’s population lives and works in the informal economic sector. However, workers in the informal economy are conspicuous by their relative absence in work psychology research and practice. Policy agendas inspired by economic research often combine skilled and unskilled workers into a single category, lacking the voice of the poor worker and a psychological understanding of work in the informal sector. Using grassroots-level field data from highly skilled artisans in rural India, this study unearths the person-centric inner experiences of informal work, and examines the psychological foundations of Decent Work in a heretofore unexamined population of workers in the informal economy. Using inductive and abductive approaches, results reveal the affective, attentional, task and culturally-embedded contextual characteristics of work in the informal economy, along with the psychological nuance behind key tenets of economic ideas around decency and choice in Decent Work. These experiences reveal core facets of well-being in the world of work in the informal economy, and an operational definition of psychologically sustainable work that is aligned with local values, aspirations and capabilities. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for incorporating psychology and the study’s evidence-based findings into the International Labour Organization's Decent Work agenda.
... 72 The Uganda-DRC border has historically been a place of intense interaction 73 and exchange ties pre-date the establishment of colonial borders. 74 After the introduction of the colonial border, the Uganda-DRC border has been used and manipulated by a number of categories of people, including cross-border traders dodging tax, or poachers and hunters, who moved freely throughout the region. Of particular importance is the division of similar ethnic groups on different sides of the border. ...
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Informal Cross-Border Trade (ICBT) plays a critical role for Uganda and the DRC. It acts as (i) an essential source of livelihoods for traders and their families on both sides of the border; (ii) a crucial source of foreign exchange, with knock-on effects on employment creation and income; and (iii) an important source of food security and the supply of other products in the border region, by linking up various markets across the border. These effects play out on a number of levels: (i) locally, ICBT supplies goods for the towns and areas along the Uganda–DRC border; (ii) nationally and regionally, ICBT provides goods to the wider region, on both sides of the border; (iii) globally, more resourceful traders operate on a global scale, importing goods to the borderland from Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Over the last 10 years, ICBT between Uganda and the DRC has intensified. Informal exports from Uganda have almost doubled, from USD 143.2 million in 2010 to USD 269.8 million in 2018. This intensification is also reflected on a political level: in recent years, there have been a range of bilateral initiatives to improve relations and enhance cross-border trade, such as the removal of non-tariff trade barriers. While women constitute the majority of ICBT traders, they make less profit than men. This has to do with more limited access to credit, less time (due to household tasks), and the fact that more profitable goods – such as fuel or cigarettes – carry with them risks of harassment or violence from men. Youth also play a central role in ICBT and are explicitly mentioned as a target audience in political initiatives on cross-border trade. The COVID-19 lockdown measures implemented in March 2020, and particularly the closure of borders, had a profound impact on ICBT in the Uganda–DRC borderlands. As ICBT mainly operates between small-scale traders with fragile supply chains, these measures led to an almost complete standstill of trade. The measures further enhanced pre-existing fragilities and inequalities of the trade, notably: • Women were disproportionally affected by the pandemic and containment measures: they are mostly engaged in small-scale trade with low profit margins and have a less diversified income base. • There were many complaints about the behavior of Ugandan security officials in the enactment of the lockdown policies.
... These trading contacts between Khartoum and northern Uganda were well established by the beginning of the colonial period. 37 Third, it is necessary to understand how various actors have always manipulated borders in the area, something that has been described well by the work of Mark Leopold. 38 By the early 1890s, the region was known as the "Lado Enclave" and included parts of Northern Uganda as well as parts of South Sudan and the Central African Republic. ...
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Chapter
This chapter discusses the relationship between the state and illegal trade in the border region between Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It will be shown how the state always had an ambiguous relationship towards smuggling: on an official level, it has countered these illegal practices, while on an informal level, it has helped to regulate and instrumentalise these practices. On the one hand, this will be done by analyzing the relationship between the state and different groups which have appeared and engaged in these trading practices, such as organized groups of smugglers, rebel groups or major businessmen. On the other hand, it will be shown how on a more day-to-day level, state officials relate to these illicit practices. Through both levels of analysis, the ambiguous relationship between the state and illegal activities will be shown; and how stateness itself ‘waxes and wanes’ (Lund 2006), both in time, and on different levels of interaction.
... All of these dynamics reinforced self-reliance, and many drew on crossborder trading, linguistic and kinship connections to forge viable livelihoods. Meagher (1990) and Titeca (2012) describe the emergence of an illegal crossborder trade that flourished between Uganda, DRC and South Sudan in the decades after return. For Titeca, participation in cross-border trade represented an 'indigenous way to provide development', in lieu of the relief provisions of international agencies and the Ugandan central government (2012, p. 50). ...
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Approaches to resilience in post-war contexts prioritise systems-based thinking above everyday realities. This paper explores reconstruction through marungi (khat) in North-West Uganda. Presenting ethnographic evidence, we chart connections between marungi and resilience among growers, traders and “eaters”. Firstly, we argue for a consideration of the actual resources through which individuals and households build capacity to withstand shocks following war. Secondly, we explore inequities within production lines and the effects of criminalising khat, to demonstrate trade-offs within prospects for post-war prosperity. Ultimately, we argue for process-based analyses of how resilience is negotiated in contingent circumstances.
... 109 As the Ugandan economy collapsed in the later years of Amin's government, the informal economy, or 'magendo' emerged as a major and enduring source of income and survival, creating new vested interests in cross-border trade and smuggling. 110 As Tidemand points out, however, the collapse of the formal economy in Uganda had limited impact on district administrations, since their revenue base was 'graduated taxes and market dues rather than taxes on formal sector incomes'. 111 This also heightened the concerns about local tax collection on both sides of the border, as local governments struggled to get this revenue in the absence of central government support. ...
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This paper takes a localized conflict over a non-demarcated stretch of the Uganda–South Sudan boundary in 2014 as a starting point for examining the history of territorial state formation on either side of this border since its colonial creation in 1914. It argues that the conflict was an outcome of the long-term constitution of local government territories as patches of the state, making the international border simultaneously a boundary of the local state. Some scholars have seen the limited control of central governments over their borderlands and the intensification of local territorialities as signs of African state fragmentation and failure. But the article argues that this local territoriality should instead be seen as an outcome of ongoing state-formation processes in which state territory has been co-produced through local engagement and appropriation. The paper is thus of wider relevance beyond African or postcolonial history, firstly in contributing a spatial approach to studies of state formation which have sought to replace centre–periphery models with an emphasis on the centrality of the local state. Secondly it advances the broader field of borderlands studies by arguing that international boundaries have been shaped by processes of internal territorialisation as well as by the specific dynamics of cross-border relations and governance. Thirdly it advocates a historical and processual approach to understanding territory, arguing that the patchwork of these states has been fabricated and reworked over the past century, entangling multiple, changing forms and scales of territory in the ongoing constitution of state boundaries.
Article
Researchers generally examine how variables directly affect events in war. Some variables, however, may not simply increase or decrease conflict events but may instead displace them. In wartime, this dynamic may result from the conditional decision-making made by militaries constrained, at least partially, by time. When there is a necessary regularity to military operations, decision-making may be complicated by factors such as inclement weather, and this regularized pressure to act may produce a hydraulic relationship between inclement weather and events. In this dynamic, today’s inclement weather, such as rain, may displace today’s events. Conversely, yesterday’s rain may increase today’s, with planned events postponed. Similarly, tomorrow’s rain may also increase today’s events, with planned activities moved forward. We test this hydraulic argument with geo-referenced data from the recent Ugandan civil war and find significant evidence that conflict events are fluid in time. Inclement weather constrains and also displaces events.
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This article explores shifting perspectives on African clandestine economies. Previously condemned as products of clientelism and corruption, clandestine economies are attracting renewed interest for their developmental potential in weak state contexts. Focusing on systems of illicit cross-border trade in East and West Africa, this article shows that more favourable views of clandestine trading activities are driven more by their compatibility with liberal reform agendas than by their positive contribution to local development. Indeed, the optimistic turn in perspectives on illicit African trade glosses over its increasingly negative impact on local security and development. While discourses of violence and criminalization were used to characterize the largely peaceful cross-border trading systems in West Africa in the 1990s, new discourses of hybrid governance and state building are used to frame the more violent and socially disruptive cross-border trading complexes of East Africa in the 2000s.
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Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the Somali population in Uganda. This spike reflects a new development in the history of Somali mobility in East Africa, shaped both by crises and by opportunities, from which sophisticated transnational and translocal strategies have emerged. In this article, we draw attention to these strategies to understand continuity and change in Somali migrant networks in Kampala, highlighting the dual significance of Uganda both as a safe haven and as a stepping stone for upward social mobility and business expansion across the region and beyond. By describing the entanglement of needs and aspirations driving the mobility and livelihood strategies of Somali refugees, students and entrepreneurs, we argue that the historical trajectory of the Somali community in Uganda over the past 30 years has been shaped by the interaction of pre-existing linkages and an institutional framework defined by a mix of donor-oriented policies and presidential patronage. We identify three moments in which Museveni’s ability to ‘manage donors’ perceptions’ has had implications for the economic, demographic and political configuration of the Somali diaspora in Uganda: the economic liberalisation of the 1990s; the 2006 Refugee Act; and the 2007 deployment of UPDF in Uganda.
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Thesis
This thesis provides an insight into the everyday realities of economic life and regulation in the Republic of South Sudan for the period between 2010 and 2013, encompassing its independence from the Sudan in July 2011 and the period of economic austerity following the January 2012 oil shutdown . By looking at negotiation patterns between individuals and groups of traders, entrepreneurs, tax collectors and procurement officers from the local to the national level, this thesis explores how people within the state and people interacting with the state make sense of, contest and enact the state in this region that now comprises the world’s 193rd ,and therefore the youngest, internationally recognised independent country.
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Chapter
By looking at smugglers in Northwestern Uganda, in particular a group of fuel smugglers called the OPEC boys, this chapter explains how smuggling can be a socially legitimate activity. It shows how smugglers can be regarded as social bandits (Hobsbawm 1959, 1981), through their strong links with the local population. In explaining this, the chapter shows how smuggling is understood through local social imaginaries (Taylor 2004, Grant 2014), and how smugglers act as an uncivil society, representing actors from the informal economy (Bayat 1997a, 1997b).
Article
This paper reviews the literature on taxation of the informal economy, taking stock of key debates and drawing attention to recent innovations. Conventionally, the debate on whether to tax has frequently focused on the limited revenue potential, high cost of collection, and potentially adverse impact on small firms. Recent arguments have increasingly emphasised the more indirect benefits of informal taxation in relation to economic growth, broader tax compliance, and governance. More research is needed, we argue, into the relevant costs and benefits for all, including quasi-voluntary compliance, political and administrative incentives for reform, and citizen-state bargaining over taxation.
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Recent years have witnessed significantly increased attention to the challenge of taxing small businesses in the informal sector. However, much of this recent attention has remained focused on comparatively technical issues of revenue maximisation and policy design. This paper argues that this debate should focus increasingly on the wider development implications of informal sector taxation, as well as the political and institutional barriers to improved performance. When considering the merits of committing scarce resources to taxing small informal sector firms, debate has frequently focused on limited revenue potential, high costs of collection and potentially perverse impacts on small firms. By contrast, recent arguments have increasingly emphasised more indirect benefits of informal taxation in relation to economic growth, tax compliance and governance. These potentially broader benefits are increasingly finding support in recent research, but they are contingent on government support and consequently demand further attention. When we turn our attention away from whether tax authorities should tax small informal businesses towards the challenge of how to do so more effectively, we again argue that a broader frame of analysis is needed. Most existing research has focused on developing less distortionary tax regimes and on tax simplification in order to reduce the costs of compliance. However, while important, there strategies remain too narrow. Encouraging tax compliance demands not only lowering costs but also strengthening the potential benefits of formalisation, from increased security to new economic opportunities. As importantly, successful reform needs political support from political leaders, tax administrators and taxpayers alike. This demands greater attention to strengthening political incentives for reform, through strategic policy, administrative and institutional reform. With this in mind, the paper highlights a number of recent experiences that have sought to address these challenges, but which need further study.
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The Opec boys in Uganda, fuel smugglers and political actors The « Opec boys » are smuggling fuel from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Arua, Uganda. They are major economic actors, but also have strong political sway. This second economy has become a field of constant negotiation between them and the local politicians: on the one hand, the politicians need the political support of the Opec boys. On the other hand, the Opec boys need political protection against police repression and petrol confiscation.
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Article
This article provides an ethnographic insight into how the daily realities of state performance along the South Sudanese most Southern border of Magwi County are an outcome of negotiations between traders and state officials. It is argued that the ‘practical norms’ of taxation, meaning the actual rules that govern the actions of state officials, are largely framed by the way in which state officials and traders are embedded in different networks. The analysis distinguishes between regional trade networks of accumulation based on associative ties that appropriate elements of state performance and SPLM/A authority into their business practices, and local trade networks of survival based on communal ties that relate to state performance more through the informal institutions of kinship and subsistence security. It is demonstrated that the types of network ties and their embedded institutional content that connect traders and state officials yield very different practical norms with different implications for South Sudan’s state-building process ‘from below’.
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Book
The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling offers a comprehensive survey of interdisciplinary research related to smuggling, reflecting on key themes, and charting current and future trends. Divided into six parts and spanning over 30 chapters, the volume covers themes such as mobility, borders, violent conflict, and state politics, as well as looks at the smuggling of specific goods – from rice and gasoline to wildlife, weapons, and cocaine. Chapters engage with some of the most contentious academic and policy debates of the twenty-first century, including the historical creation of borders, re-bordering, the criminalisation of migration, and the politics of selective toleration of smuggling. As it maps a field that contains unique methodological, ethical, and risk-related challenges, the book takes stock not only of the state of our shared knowledge, but also reflects on how this has been produced, pointing to blind spots and providing an informed vision of the future of the field. Bringing together established and emerging scholars from around the world, The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling is an indispensable resource for students and researchers of conflict studies, borderland studies, criminology, political science, global development, anthropology, sociology, and geography.
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Taking the current presence of South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda as a case‐study, this paper explores how different forms of mobility enable them to better cope with the harsh conditions caused by their displacement. Based on extensive field research, the results of this article show how for South Sudanese refugees, crossing borders can be empowering, although these complex strategies do not fit within the mutually exclusive ‘durable solutions’ proposed by the international refugee regime. Looking through a transnational lens, it is illustrated how different forms of movement enable the refugees to hold on to certain aspects of ‘normal life’, such as being employed, enacting customs and visiting loved ones, blurring the distinction between voluntary and forced migration. This results in a deepening of transnational networks as the generally large South Sudanese families find their members dispersed across Ugandan and South Sudanese town centres, villages, refugee settlements and third countries in Africa and elsewhere.
Chapter
“Africa is not a country,” warn the authors of a recent report meant to entice Polish companies to engage with the “rising” African continent.1 The reminder would seem totally unwarranted but for the enticing blueprints that presume that an integrated single African market is within reach. The establishment by 2017 of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), we are also told, will be followed by a Continental Customs Union (CCU) two years later.2 Meanwhile, Africa keeps being described as a continent deeply segmented, yet integrated through “a significant amount of cross-border trade [that] does take place … [through] informal channels and is [therefore] not measured in official statistics.”3
Article
This article provides a ground-level view of market taxation in two local government areas in Ghana’s relatively disadvantaged northern region. It describes a system shaped by informal practices that are grounded in social relationships and collective norms, which sometimes foster greater equity and in other cases serve to reinforce existing inequalities. The evidence suggests the need for a more nuanced understanding of the highly informal and socially embedded realities of local tax collection, and the possibility that improved outcomes could be achieved by “working with the grain” of these inescapable local realities, while seeking to minimize potential costs of informality.
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To be denied the status of formal worker is to be denied the rights and protections of the formal sector. Such classification is a source of insecurity and uncertainty for many. When employers privilege disembedded employment arrangements, workers in precarious semi-formal settings face many financial and relational challenges, yet receive limited support. In Hostile Economic, Social, And Legal Contexts, What Practices And Discourses Do These Workers Draw On To Respond To Their Work Situations? When, And Against Whom, Do They Struggle For Labor Embeddedness? Analyses Of Ethnographic And Interview Data From Two Fieldwork Projects Studying Semi-Formal Work - One Study Of Inmate Labor In A Us Prison And One Of A Local Independent Culture Industry - Reveal That Workers Engage In Collective And Independent Classification Struggles In Search Of Formal And Symbolic Reclassification. A Typology Of Such Struggles Is Presented. By Viewing These Practices Through This Lens, This Chapter Aims To Reveal Parallels In The Experiences Of Workers In Seemingly Disconnected Fields And Advance Our Understanding Of Worker Action And Embeddedness In Contemporary Capitalism.
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Research
This paper is one of the outputs of the WOTRO funded project "Returning to Stability" and aims to contribute to the emerging debate on the political dimensions of return by focusing on the sudden ‘spontaneous’ return of 11,6001 Congolese refugees who were forced back from exile in South Sudan to their home areas in Faradje, in northeast DRC. This is the 4th issue of the Congo research briefs, a joint publication of the Conflict Research Group (CRG) at Ghent University, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and its Understanding Violent Conflict programme, the Study Group on Conflicts and Human Security (GEC-SH) at the University of Kivu Research Center (CERUKI), the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN) and the Governance-in-Conflict Network (GiC).
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Despite the potential of its known gold deposits, Uganda has no history of large-scale gold mining. Instead, the story of gold focuses largely on informal artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and on the gold trade that extends through the region. Recent changing global trends in gold investment are stimulating the expansion of both refining and industrial extraction. Here we explore how these trends become articulated in the Ugandan context, with a focus on ASGM. Reflecting nationalistic discourse and new planning priorities, government today characterises gold as a “national treasure” and an engine for development transformation. To this end, and in line with initiatives promoted by multilateral agencies, it seeks to encourage the industrial sector coupled with the formalisation of small-scale gold mining. These formalisation dynamics are embedded within a context in which a semi-authoritarian regime privileges a (trans)national elite whose interests in gold extend into mining and into (trans)national trade and refining. Against this background, we echo a familiar story where emphasis is placed on investment in industrial mining and where institutional and regulatory capacity is weak, namely that formalisation privileges some gold miners while reinforcing inequalities, undermining potential for equity and discounting the value of the wider sector for people’s livelihoods.
Article
The article presents an ethnographic evidence on the informal economic activities of the cattle traders on the border area of Bangladesh surrounding Indian state of West-Bengal. On the basis of fieldwork and in-depth interviews, the article shows how the powerful traders manage to accrue wealth for themselves with the collusion of state officials from the trading activity while the small traders and carriers manage to earn their share of benefit. The study also indicates the paradox of state behavior while regulating the trading activity: on the one hand the state demonstrates its inability to facilitate the trade across the border on the other hand the state is collecting tax from the traders. By drawing on the theoretical debates on informal economy, the analysis demonstrates that the strong presence of the state in regulating the trading activity puts the limit on the maneuvering space of the influential traders while harassment of the small traders by border security forces and increasing death toll of the carriers compromises the position of the weak in this trading site. Therefore, the study argues that the trading activity neither constitutes as a “weapon of the weak” nor as a “weapon of the strong”-rather it reflects an ambiguous character. Second, despite hostile border security environment and absence of any formal regulatory arrangements, the cross-border cattle trade remains efficient, highly organized and deeply rooted business in the border area of Bangladesh.
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This article examines the smuggling of coltan into and out of artisanal mining areas in northern Katanga where the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), a policy on conflict minerals, tries to improve transparency in trading tin, tantalum (coltan) and tungsten. The article approaches smuggling from a sociology of economic life perspective, closely examining how and why artisanal miners and mine-based middlemen ( négociants ) helped smugglers ( hiboux ) in the trafficking of coltan. The findings indicate that the social networks in which miners and mine-based négociants are embedded allow the miners, négociants and smugglers to maintain close relationships and to breach official regulations, but miners and mine-based négociants also rely on the same networks to cheat in their dealings with the smugglers. This article concludes that, rather than considering coltan mining areas to be ‘enclaves of regulations’, understanding and addressing smuggling at both local and broader contexts call for a comprehensive, more contextualised approach.
Article
This article reflects on conversations with cross-border residents in the northwest region of Uganda about local ideas of the nature of political authority and questions of identity paperwork. It notes that there is very little that is really ‘national’ or ‘state’ about the identification paperwork and practices that have emerged on these borders from the 1990s onwards. Instead of a conversation about rights and reciprocal relationships with ‘their’ state/s, residents emphasize the significance of class systems, globalized capital, and power relations in how citizenship works in this region; dynamics that are not often centered in academic literature on claim-making and state-subject relationships. The article supports a wider move towards reframing studies of citizenship, the nation-state, diaspora, and ethnic community through local vocabularies and theory.
Chapter
A recurring theme in critiques of the IMF and World Bank policies for stabilisation and adjustment is that such policies undermine national economic integration and self-reliance by promoting the greater internationalisation of trade and capital flows.1 At issue here is the question of the appropriate strategy of economic development and the extent to which countries borrowing from the international institutions to manage immediate crises forfeit control over choice of long term economic strategy. Critics contend that integration into the international economy on the basis of static comparative advantage exposes Third World countries to instability and to constrained long term growth possibilities. IMF and IBRD policies of reducing state intervention in the economy and of allowing market forces and world prices to dictate resource allocation serve, it is claimed, to reassert the logic of the (in Africa’s case) colonial division of labour and promote the interests of international capitalism at the expense of the ordinary people of the Third World. The Fund and the Bank are seen, therefore, as agents of imperialism whose role is that of ensuring the most favourable conditions for the accumulation of capital at the international level. Government dealing with them are seen, in the extreme, as conspiring against the best interests of the people they claim to serve.2
Article
Clough examines the social relations of the internal marketing of one crop in the northern part of Nigeria, guineacorn, through case studies of rural traders. He examines the relationships between traders of varying degrees of wealth and political power, the manner and extent of profit-making in the purchase and sale of peasant produce, and the particular social rules governing the interaction between the different levels of trader in guineacorn. The area of field-work carried out between 1976 and 1979 embraced Malumfashi Division in the southern part of the Katsina Emirate, in Kaduna State; Danbatta weekly market, about 40 miles north of Kano City; and occasionally, the grain markets of Sokoto City and of Mai Aduwa, on the border between Nigeria and Niger. The research had a four-fold focus: firstly, the production and marketing of guineacorn in the hamlet of Marmara, eight miles from Malumfashi town: secondly, the grain trade in the weekly market of Kankara town, 22 miles north of Malumfashi, and the bi-weekly market of Yargoje village; thirdly, the retailing of guineacorn transported from Marmara hamlet in Danbatta market; and finally, the wholesale transfer of guineacorn between traders in these markets and also Sokoto and Mai Aduwa, much of it intended for Niger. It was a study of inter-rural marketing between the grain-surplus region of southern Katsina and grain-deficit regions to the north. Ciough's case studies describe four trading relationships in the private, commercial marketing of grain: the relationship between a Hausa/Fulani aristocrat and Hausa rural trader; relations between urban merchants and an inter-village wholesaler living in the countryside; the connection between the inter-village wholesaler and a hamlet wholesaler; and between the inter-village wholesaler and a retailer in Danbatta market.
Dictatorship over Needs, St.Martin's Press: New York, 1983. O.J.Igue, 'Le commerce de contrebande et les problemes monetaires en Afrique occidentale', Centre de Formation Administrative et de Perfectionnement
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Economist Intelligence Unit, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti Country Report No.1 & 2, 1988; F.Feher et al., Dictatorship over Needs, St.Martin's Press: New York, 1983. O.J.Igue, 'Le commerce de contrebande et les problemes monetaires en Afrique occidentale', Centre de Formation Administrative et de Perfectionnement, Universite Nationale du Benin, 1977;J.Kornai, Economics of Shortage, Vol.B, North Holland, 1980 and 'Resource Constrained vs Demand Constrained Systems', Institute for International Economic Studies, University of Stockholm, Reprint Series no.112, July 1979;
Colonialism and Underdevelopment in East Africa 1919-1939, Heine-mann: LondonGrain Marketing in Northern Nigeria
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E.A.Brett, Colonialism and Underdevelopment in East Africa 1919-1939, Heine-mann: London, 1973; P.Clough, 'Grain Marketing in Northern Nigeria', Review of African Political Economy, (No.34:16-34);
Trade and Markets among the Lugbara of Uganda
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J.Middleton, 'Trade and Markets among the Lugbara of Uganda' in P. Bohannan and G. Dalton (eds.), Markets in Africa, 1962 (rpt.l965);
‘Le commerce de contrebande et les problemes monetaires en Afrique occidentale
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