The Return of The State: A Political Economy of Resource Nationalism and Revived State-Owned Enterprises in Tanzania’s Coal Sector

Thabit Jacob

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling


The natural resource sector has been subject to various nationalistic interventions by governments around the world, especially during the global commodity boom from the 2000s. Such interventions have taken different forms, ranging from reforms of mining tax regimes, the renegotiation of mining and of oil and gas contracts deemed unfavorable to the state, and the creation of new state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the revival of old ones, as well as mandatory state shareholdings. Focusing on the coal sector, the thesis examines Tanzania’s puzzling return to a state-led development and resource nationalism through its revival of SOEs in its attempts to reverse the trajectory of several decades of neoliberalism and domination by foreign multinationals in the mining sector. Specifically, the thesis draws on qualitative fieldwork and analytical insights from political economy to analyse: 1) how the state’s engagement in the mining sector and resource nationalism has evolved over time; 2) the role of the re-emergence of resource nationalism in shaping the state’s capacity and engagement in the coal sector; and 3) how re-emerging resource nationalism and the changing role of revived SOEs are affecting relations between the state and local populations.
The thesis find that state’s engagement in the mineral sector over the years has been shaped by three cross-cutting factors, namely changing ideas on mining governance among the ruling elites; the power relations between the state and transnational actors, particularly the power of private capital by foreign mining companies; intensifying electoral competition, which has fueled resource-nationalist sentiments among Tanzanians, and the fact that successive governments have combined both liberal incentives and state-centric approaches to ensure effective state engagement in the mining sector. Despite much rhetoric about increasing state control of the coal sector by involving revived SOEs, the revival of SOEs and the re-emerging of resource nationalism in Tanzania’s coal sector was achieved by increasing the ties with and dependence on foreign mining companies. Despite policy and regulatory reforms and the participation of revived SOEs, the Tanzanian state’s ability to translate resource-nationalist sentiments in the coal sector into viable policies and strategies has been hindered by Tanzania’s historical dependence on foreign capital and SOEs’ limited financial and technical capacity. At the sub-national level, the thesis shows how claims to resource nationalism and the state’s direct involvement in coal extraction through revived SOEs poses conflicts over the double role of the state. Statist intervention in the coal sector relied on a resource nationalist ideology and framing of coal extraction as a project of national importance, thereby fast-tracking consultation and limiting the participation of the local population, resulting in conflicts between the state and local populations. The thesis contributes to scholarship on resource nationalism in Africa, which has so far been dominated by studies from Latin America. The thesis also explores the implications of the findings and the future of SOEs and resource nationalism beyond the Tanzanian case.
ForlagRoskilde Universitet
Antal sider246
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2020
NavnFS & P Ph.D. afhandlinger

Bibliografisk note

Vejledere: Lars Buur & Faustin Maganga

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