Port Geographies: Africa’s Infrastructure Boom and the Reconfiguration of Power and Authority

Jana Hönke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


    This chapter analyses the geographies of power and authority that new large-scale infrastructure projects in Africa reveal. Against the expectation that much of Africa’s current infrastructure boom is driven by resource extraction, it looks at its broader political reconfigurations and argues that more attention is required to the ever more diverse set of external actors involved in infrastructure, increasingly also actors from the Global South. The chapter thus explores some of the ‘state effects’ of new port projects, but is also an exploration of ports’ complex transboundary topologies made up of a multiplicity of actors, standards and technologies. The analysis is build around major port refurbishment and construction projects along the East African coast, in particular the port of Dar es Salaam and the new megaport at Bagamoyo (both in Tanzania), based on fieldwork and desk research. After a discussion of perspectives on infrastructure hubs and the African state, the chapter turns to state politics around the port of Dar es Salaam. This is followed by an exploration of Dar port as a transnational project, and, finally, a discussion of powerful new imaginaries of development and modernity – from a Dubai to a Shenzen ‘model’ – that drive new gate projects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationExtractive Industries and Changing State Dynamics in Africa
    Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Resource Curse
    EditorsJon Schubert, Ulf Engel, Elisio Macamo
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9781351200639
    ISBN (Print)9780815391845
    Publication statusPublished - 10-Jul-2018

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Studies in African Development


    • Reconfiguration of the state
    • political geography
    • AFRICA

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