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Future in Chains: Socio Economic Impacts of Growth Corridors - DFG (2018-2021)

Growth corridors are classic tools to promote and govern regional development in hinterland regions. Today, growth corridors are however no longer confined simply to transport routes, but are conceived in a more sophisticated way as drivers of regional economic integration of rural areas into global value chains. However, the outcomes of such spatial development initiatives are so far neither fully understood nor foreseeable. Critics argue that growth corridors increase conflicts, external dependencies, land rush, exclusion and polarization of wealth. Against this background, our overall research question is: To what extent do growth corridor programs lead to desired and undesirable regional socio-economic effects? For this, we focus on the structures and characteristics of two distinct growth corridors, their governance and the participation of local businesses. Analysis will concentrate on the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) through the transnational KAZA conservation area and the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), paying special attention to two value chains at the centre of the corridor programs: staple crop production and commercial tourism. The WBNLDC has only recently begun to apply a value-chain perspective for developing the existing corridor, whereas at SAGCOT the value chain approach has been an integral part from the very beginning. This contrasting perspective will allow us to compare both approaches in relation to their impacts not only on land-use change, but also on the inclusion of local farmers and touristic businesses vis-à-vis national policy makers, elites and multinational firms with different visions for future development.

We will focus on a contrasting comparative analysis of the relatively mature transnational WBNLDC corridor (established in 1999), which was originally only meant as a transport route and the more recently (2010) initiated SAGCOT corridor, which is based on a value-chain development approach (Aurecon 2014). The comparative approach aims at examining the distinct evolution of the surveyed corridors and their impact with regard to the following three research objectives.

  1. We will focus on an analysis and comparison of the structures, characteristics and development stages (Barbier 2012) of the corridors in order to measure to what extent the expected spatial impacts along the corridors have materialized. Namely, whether the corridors integrate places to global markets, and lead to a densification of economic activities in certain value chains and at distinct locations (“dreamscapes of modernity”), or whether, through the induced drastic land-use changes, negative externalities predominate.
  2. We will analyse the governance structures (during planning and development) of the respective corridors in order to understand different power relations and the decision making of the involved national elites, public developers, international and domestic private chain actors and further stakeholders. Against this background, the question arises whether the interests of foreign investors and national decision makers coincide with the local development needs and the capabilities of the domestic businesses.
  3. We will explore to what extend and how local businesses are integrated in processes of value creation and capture in order to assess whether a strategic coupling between local assets and expertise with international lead firms is taking place and how it effects the local businesses.

Following the outlined objectives our project is structured by the following guiding questions:

Research Objective 1: Structures and Characteristics of the Corridors

  1. Who are main actors along the growth corridors (e.g. private international value chain actors, national elites, different public actors, further financial investors, and NGOs)?
  2. What is the scope of foreign direct investment along the corridors? From where and from which branches do investors come? Which functions along the value chain do multinational enterprises (MNE’s) have along the corridors?
  3. Which spatial manifestations of value-chain activities can be observed along the growth corridors (e.g. at gateway locations, rural production areas, and urban processing centers)? And which changes in land-tenure regimes and land use can be detected?

Research Objective 2: Future-Making - Visions and Governance of Corridors

  1. How and by whom are the different corridor plans negotiated, shaped, controlled and enforced? How are the chains and corridors interacting (e.g. institutional and regulatory framework, different power relations and capabilities and capacities)?

b. What are the underlying ideas of future-making and visions behind the different corridor developments (targets, values, paradigms, investment decisions, interests and hidden agendas, power relations and conflicts)?

c. To what extent and by which means are local actors able to formulate (in the sense of a “capacity to aspire”, Appadurai 2013) and implement their own interests and visions on value creation and value capture in the corridor plans?

Research Objective 3: Effects - Participation and Integration of Local Businesses

  1. How do the different visions and the governance in the two different corridor projects influence the division of labor along the growth corridors? Do the growth corridors lead to isolated enclaves driven by multinational firms or are local actors really able to participate in global value chains?
  2. How do local actors become integrated into value chain (forcings, adaptation and transformation processes) and if not, what impedes their value-chain integration?
  3.  Does the induced land-use change create negative externalities like environmental damages or harming businesses strategies of non-participants of the value chains?

We expect that answering these questions will help to understand why and under which conditions various intended but especially unintended effects on socio-economic and socio-ecological change can take place throughout the realization of a vision of future-making.

Link: https://www.crc228.de/projects/project_c01/


Project Head: Prof. Dr. Peter Dannenberg & Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez        
Investigator: Prof. Dr. Dannenberg, Prof. Dr. Diez, M.Sc. Gideon Hartmann, Kalvelage
International partners: Dr. Enock Sakala (University of Zambia)
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), 2018 - 2021


Selection of recent papers:

Hartmann, G., Mwaka, I., and P. Dannenberg (2020): Large investments, small farmers: A financialisation perspective on value chains in a development corridor. Development Southern Africa, online first. DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2020.1799758

Dannenberg, P. and G. Hartmann (2019) Stairway to Heaven oder Highway to Hell? Neue Entwicklungskorridore am Beispiel SAGCOT in Tansania. In: Praxis Geographie, 11: 42-45.

Steffens, V., Hartmann, G., und P. Dannenberg (2019): Eine neue Generation von Wachstumskorridoren als Entwicklungsmotor in Afrika? Das Beispiel des tansanischen Landwirtschaftskorridors SAGCOT. In: Standort (Online 19.02.2019). doi:10.1007/s00548-019-00565-6

Dannenberg, P. Revilla Diez, J.  & Schiller, D. (2018). Spaces for integration or a divide? New-generation growth corridors and their integration in global value chains in the Global South. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 62(2), 135-151. doi: 10.1515/zfw-2017-0034

Dannenberg, P., Braun, B. & Kulke, E. (2016). The paradox of formalization and informalization in South-North value chains. DIE ERDE - Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 147(3), 173-186. doi: 10.12854/erde-147-13.