Sovereign Sabotage: Dissolving a Financial Public in Postcolonial Dakar
City governments across the world are today turning to capital markets to fund the construction and provision of increasingly crucial urban services. Municipal bonds—a financial instrument once largely limited to North America—are now appearing in the pages of development policy reports as a novel best-practice for closing the world’s infrastructure funding gap and promoting local democracy. In response, a growing crowd of critics argues that municipal bonds have, in fact, had the opposite effects: they have perpetuated a widespread crisis of over-indebtedness and ceded the control of democratic municipalities to the global financial industry. In this talk, I will consider of one of Africa’s most noteworthy experiments in municipal bond financing: The City of Dakar’s failed attempt to issue the first municipal bond on the West African Stock Exchange. Yet rather than consider Dakar’s experiment as an African example of American-style financialization, I will explore the surprising political role that the bond program came to play in a century-long dispute over local democracy in Senegal.
- James Christopher Mizes - Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL