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Keywords:

  • Africa;
  • political economy;
  • conservation;
  • extraction;
  • natural resources;
  • financial crisis

ABSTRACT

Over the last decade, Africa's natural resources have seen another rapid rise in political-economic importance. The continent's abundant biodiversity underpins the fast-growing (eco)tourism industry, while its rich energy resources have seen renewed attention from global powers. Obviously, these boom-and-bust cycles of interest in African natural resources have signified the continent's place in the capitalist world order for a long time. Yet, and despite the intense ambiguities and manifold negative consequences of this history, the conservation of Africa's biodiversity riches and the exploitation of its energy resources continue to be promoted in win-win terms: beneficial to the continent and outsiders ‘consuming’ the resources. The paper reviews this ‘boom-and bust’ cycle of interest in Africa's resources in the light of the recent ‘Great Financial Crisis’. It argues that an initial review of mainstream responses to the crisis shows a global ‘reflex’ that falls back on and so reinstates Africa's ‘natural place’ in the global order.