School of Social and Political Science

Research project type

The Limits of Monetary Sovereignty




Decolonisation in East Africa was never limited, in the minds of its residents, to mere political independence.

Instead, they envisioned a more expansive project to secure economic self-determination. They deployed new institutions (such as central banks), new infrastructures (such as national currencies), and new forms of expertise (such as economics) in order to pursue this goal.

These novelties were meant to provide states with a “monopoly on valuation,” meaning the capacity to determine how value is produced, circulated, and controlled.

Analysis of the possibilities and constraints of monetary sovereignty 

This research project analyses the possibilities and constraints of such monetary sovereignty in two avenues.

First, it utilises official government archives to examine how a new generation of East African bureaucrats and their interlocutors designed the postcolonial economy.

Second, it examines the archives of Barclays, one of the region’s most important banks at the time, to analyse the relationship between transnational finance and postcolonial statecraft.

Building upon two years of research in East Africa, this project speaks to the enduring concerns about the scale and scope of money and finance today.

Research staff

  • Idil Akinci
  • Giulia Liberatore
  • Nasar Meer
  • Liz Stanley
  • Shaira Vadasaria

Research themes

  • governance, law and norms
  • transformations in work, production and consumption
  • movement, borders and infrastructure
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