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Cerutti, P.O., Gumbo, D., Moombe, K., Schoneveld, G., Nasi, R., Bourland, N. and Weng, X. 2018. Informality, global capital, rural development and the environment: Mukula (rosewood) trade between China and Zambia. Research Report. IIED, London and CIFOR, Lusaka


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Informality, global capital, rural development and the environment: Mukula (rosewood) trade between China and Zambia.

Summary / Notes:

In much of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the informal economy rules supreme. Often defined as unregulated production, distribution and service provision, informal economic activities across SSA provide crucial cash income and employment for both rural and urban populations. Governing the informal economy is a key policy challenge for governments across SSA owing to (1) its contribution to local livelihoods and (2) its common association with illegality, tax evasion and negative environmental impacts. Because of the increasingly globalised trade in commodities, parts of the local informal economy can also be supported by global sources of capital. Zambia is no exception to these trends. Against this backdrop, this paper focuses on the political economy of the international mukula (rosewood) trade,1 interrogating the role of global capital, in particular that of Chinese origin in Zambia, and its impacts on rural livelihoods, the environment and resource governance.

Year: 2018

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