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Bridges: China and the politics of infrastructure in the Global South

When: Wednesday, 21 November 2018 - Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Where: Off campus
Committee Room, CISA, 36 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein
Start time:14:00

The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at Wits will host this seminar.

The seminar will be presented by Caio Simões de Araújo from CISA and Cláudia Gastrow from the University of Johannesburg. 

On 10 November 2018, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi inaugurated the much-anticipated Maputo-Katembe Bridge, a megaproject 10 years in the making and widely known as the longest suspension bridge in Africa. Result of heavy Chinese financing – with a public loan of 785 million USD – and comprehensive scientific cooperation, this bridge is perhaps paradigmatic of Chinese-funded infrastructural development in the Global South, in general, and in Africa, in particular. The Maputo-Katembe link is not, however, merely a monumental engineering project. It had also involved great economic change and restructuring of public finances, it carried with it the promises of urban renewal of Maputo and the development of southern Mozambique broadly. As many other megaprojects in the Global South, it produced environmental change, changed urban and rural landscapes and required the sacrifice of population removal. This panel will draw on the Maputo-Katembe example to open up a debate about the politics of infrastructure development and megaprojects in the Global South. We are particularly interested in debating and formulating a research agenda that is pertinent not only to Mozambique or southern Africa, but that speaks to the broader spectrum of Chinese-led major undertakings in architecture or engineering, urban or economic planning, agricultural development and mineral extraction, to name just a few of the most prominent areas.

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