The emergence of regulatory capitalism in Africa

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Economy and Society, Volume 50, Number 1, p.100–119 (2021)



<p>As part of conceptualizing a form of capitalism specific to the African continent, this paper offers an institutional study of the development of regulatory institutions in Africa, suggested by and suggestive to current theoretical accounts of regulation and its relationship to capitalism. Recent scholarship has sketched a vision of regulatory capitalism that has much traction in the now-emerged discipline of governance but less in that of economics. That vision depends upon functioning regulatory institutions and effective enforcement strategies. Drawing from both disciplines and from the varieties of capitalism literature, this paper examines how and to what extent the African continent can be characterized as a regulatory region.One of the processes by which Africa has become a regulatory region is the founding of public regulatory agencies. Another is the growth and spread of firms and practices associated with regulatory capitalism. Reflective of these processes, attention at both national and regional levels within Africa to the establishment and operation of competition regimes, to complementary regulatory regimes (with attention here to the telecommunications and public procurement fields), and to the rise and significance of African regional economic communities provides evidence for envisioning Africa as a regulatory region. This evidence suggests that the exploration of a distinctively African variety of regulatory capitalism is warranted.</p>


Publisher: Routledge _eprint: