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Matrix Governance, Cruciform Sovereignty and the Poverty Regime in Africa


  • Pádraig Carmody


Uneven development and globalization are associated with problems of poverty, resource scarcity, competition and conflict. The solution to these problems often presented by donors is better national, and also global governance: the creation of a governance matrix, prescribing and proscribing sets of actions by particular actors. Matrix governance attempts to regularize social interactions to achieve poverty reduction, but ultimately manages, normalizes and thereby arguably reproduces it without substantively addressing its causes. Structurally, matrix governance represents a horizontal sharing of Northern countries’ sovereignty and power, which is then projected southwards to ensure vertical sovereignty sharing and continued resource extraction; giving sovereignty a global cruciform structure. This undemocratic structure of global governance, and the transnational contract of extroversion between corporations and state elites which underpins it, paradoxically, helps to produce conditions conducive to conflict and corruption, recreating the conditions for its own perpetuation. The paper explores these issues through case studies of the new geopolitical fracture zone in the Chadian-Sudanese borderlands, which is partly the result of competition between Western powers and China for oil, and Equatorial Guinea as a space of exception, deception and occlusion to neoliberal normalization.

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  • Pádraig Carmody, 2008. "Matrix Governance, Cruciform Sovereignty and the Poverty Regime in Africa," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp267, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp267
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Bank, 2000. "Can Africa Claim the 21st Century?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22962, January.
    2. Stein, Howard, 2008. "Beyond the World Bank Agenda," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226771670, January.
    3. Harvey, David, 2003. "The New Imperialism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199264315.
    4. Gawdat Bahgat, 2007. "Africa's oil: potential and implications," OPEC Energy Review, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, vol. 31(2), pages 91-104, June.
    5. Harald Bathelt & Andersand Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2002. "Clusters and Knowledge Local Buzz, Global Pipelines and the Process of Knowledge Creation," DRUID Working Papers 02-12, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    6. Goran Hyden, 2008. "After the Paris Declaration: Taking on the Issue of Power," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 26(3), pages 259-274, May.
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