review of african political economy

What is ROAPE?

Since 1974 ROAPE has provided radical analysis of trends, issues and social processes in Africa, adopting a broadly materialist interpretation of change. It pays particular attention to the political economy of inequality, exploitation and oppression, and to organised struggles against them, whether these inequities are driven by global forces or local ones such as class, race, ethnicity and gender. It sustains a critical analysis of the nature of power and the state in Africa in the context of capitalist globalisation.

Our Quarterly Journal

ROAPE is a refereed journal committed to encouraging high quality research and fostering excellence in the understanding of African political economy. It contains academic articles, debates pieces, briefings and commentary on current events relating to Africa and an active section of book reviews. If you have material which you think should be published on this site or in the journal, see How to contribute. The Review is currently noted in African Studies Abstracts Online, African Urban & Regional Science Index, EconLit, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, International Political Science Abstracts, PAIS Select, Political Science Abstracts and SCOPUS. Individuals and institutions can SUBSCRIBE to the journal either in print or online versions, or both. If you are based in Africa and have a pressing use for the journal and no means of subscribing, please contact us.

How can I use this this website?

ROAPE is published quarterly by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group for the ROAPE international collective. All NEW ARTICLES are available on the Taylor and Francis website. This website is run by the ROAPE international collective and provides free access to the ROAPE ARCHIVES. This consists of downloadable .pdfs of all articles published by ROAPE that are more than seven years old. The site also provides advice on how to contribute or subscribe to the journal and news and information about conferences and events that we think will be of interest to our readers.



      Launch of Ruth First special issue: Não Vamos Esqueçer (We Will Not Forget)

      Venue: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1st floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

      RSVP to

      The South African revolutionary Ruth First made an extraordinary contribution to activism and radical writing and research on Africa. She worked as a journalist in South Africa from 1946 until her exile in the UK in 1964. She then became an editor, co-author and author of a large number of books, as well as a lecturer. She was also one of the founding members of the Review of African Political Economy (RoAPE) in 1974, a radical journal committed to transforming (and understanding) Africa’s political economy.

      In the late 1970s First moved to Mozambique as Director of Research at the Centro de Estudos Africanos at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo. In 1982 she was murdered in Maputo by the apartheid state. Drawing on papers presented at the 2012 Ruth First Papers Project symposium, RoAPE has produced a special issue that includes contributions from Anne-Marie Gentili, Gavin Williams and Alpheus Manghezi. The special issue on Ruth First is the story of First’s life in Mozambique, and her broad and substantial contribution to radical African studies.

      Much of Ruth First’s work and life remains unknown to a new generation yet her work was of such impressive scope, her activism so courageous. Join us to celebrate the extraordinary life of Ruth First and the launch of the Ruth First Special Issue.

      Panel - 17:00 – 18:30. Ruth First: activism and research

      Welcome by Gillian Slovo

      ‘Writing Ruth First’s biography’ Alan Wieder (Wieder is the author of Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid published to wide acclaim last year).

      Gavin Williams ‘Setting up RoAPE: Ruth and the first years of the Review’

      Chair, Professor Philip Murphy (Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies)

      Launch - 18.30 – 20.00

      Ruth First: Não Vamos Esqueçer. Review of African Political Economy with Gary Littlejohn and Janet Bujra

      Ruth First Papers Project:

      Convenor: Dr Leo Zeilig, Project Manager

      SPECIAL EDITION: Revisiting the South African developmental impasse: the national neoliberal revolution. September 2013

      The latest edition of ROAPE is now available on the Taylor and Francis website. VOL 40, ISSUE 138. The edition reflects particularly on the persistence of dramatic inequalities in South Africa since the end of apartheid and includes articles by Aurelia Segatti and Nicolas Pons-Vignon, William Freund, Gertrude Makhaya and Simon Roberts, Firoz Khan, Karl von Holdt and Peter Alexander.


      We were recently deeply saddened by the deaths of two important members of the ROAPE family, Lionel Cliffe and Colin Murray.

      Lionel was a founder-editor of ROAPE and, while he had been unwell, his death was not expected. He continued to work and participate in ROAPE and other Africanist activities, as well as his research, with his usual dedication and enthusiasm, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

      Donations in Lionel's memory may be given to the 'Lionel Cliffe Memorial Research Scholarship' to Co-operative Bank, sort code 089075, account no. 50181461. The ROAPE editorial working group are also discussing ways to commemorate his work and life, which includes renaming a new research grant the Lionel Cliffe Research Scholarship.

      An obituary for Lionel was published by The Guardian. A Facebook page to share memories of Lionel has been set up. Please do post tributes, photos and messages here.

      Colin Murray died on the 14th October and a celebration of his life was held on 28th October. Among other things, Colin had been an active and much loved member of the ROAPE editorial working group, and again, will be sorely missed. An obituary for Colin was published in The Guardian

      For those wishing to make a tribute, Colin had asked that donations be made to Blythe House Hospice, Chapel-en-le-Frith, a place that provided him with excellent care and support in the final months of his life. Contact ROAPE for more details.

      NEW READER: Conflict and Security in Africa, October 2013

      More than any other part of the globe, Africa has become associated with conflict, insecurity and human rights atrocities. In the popular imagination and the media, overpopulation, environmental degradation and ethnic hatred dominate accounts of African violence, while in academic and policy-making circles, conflict and insecurity have also come to occupy centre stage, with resource-hungry warlords and notions of 'greed' and 'grievance' playing key explanatory roles. Since the attacks of 9/11, there has also been mounting concern that the continent's so-called 'ungoverned spaces' will provide safe havens for terrorists intent on destroying Western civilization. The Review of African Political Economy has engaged extensively with issues of conflict and security, both analysing on-going conflicts and often challenging predominant modes of explanation and interpretation. This Review of African Political Economy Reader provides a timely, comprehensive and critical contribution to contemporary debates about conflict and security on the continent. The first section, covers some of the continent's main post-Cold War conflicts and demonstrates their global connections. The articles also discuss the so-called 'resource curse', as well as the global arms trade, and reveal the complexities of the relationship between the economic and the political. The second section focuses on security as part of post-Cold War global governance, and discusses the effects of liberal peace-building as well as the link between development assistance and the 'war on terror'. The final section examines life as it continues in conditions of war and shows how insecurity reconfigures urban space, transforms social order, identities and authority. ROAPE readers can be purchased from the website of the publishers Boydell and Brewer, which also provides an interview with the editor, Rita Abrahamsen.



      Vol 32, No. 104/5, June/Sept 2005


    • – "Oiling the Wheels of Imperialism" by Giles Mohan and Tunde Zack-Williams MORE
    • – "Cultural Determinism/Hegemony/Efficacy of Defective States" by Tim Jacoby MORE
    • – "Global Flows: Terror, Oil & Strategic Philanthropy" by Sandra T Barnes MORE
    • – "Sovereignty & Democratic Exclusion in New South Africa" by Lars Buur MORE
    • – "Political Economy of Angolan Growth: Social & Regional Structure" by Steven Kyle MORE
    • – "Six Months On: What Shift in EU Approach to EPA?" by Paul Goodison MORE
    • – "Eduardo Mondlane & Rise/Fall of Mozambican Socialism" by John S Saul MORE
    • – "Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: Now Who Calls Shots?" by Alastair Fraser MORE
    • – "Development Denied: Autocratic Mil in Post-elec Zimbabwe" by Sarah Bracking MORE
    • – "Violence/Social Order Beyond State: Somalia/Angola" by Jutta Bakonyi and Kirsti Stuvøy MORE