Reading Mozambique's mega-project developmentalism through the workplace: Evidence from Chinese and Brazilian investments

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Propelled by a commodities boom and expanding South-South investment, mega-projects have reshaped the politics of labour in many African settings. Reflecting on such dynamics, this article critically engages with questions of employment, skills development, and contestation re-configuring capital-labour encounters in the 'Chinese' and 'Brazilian' workplace in Mozambique. We analyse two mega-projects: The Maputo Ring Road, implemented by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, and the Moatize Coal Project, led by the Brazilian mining company, Vale SA. Engaging with the complex realities at project ground level, the article unpacks how workplace regimes and outcomes reflect an intricate, multi-scalar array of spatial encounters, sector-specific characteristics, and national political economies. For both cases, this is associated with common promises of development and prosperity for Mozambique. While such promises take on different ideational guises, we show that the Chinese and Brazilian workplaces expose, nonetheless, overlapping patterns of inequality, contention, and hostility, reinforced by broader vulnerabilities and imbalances in global production networks and the Mozambican political economy. By providing a ground-level reading of the multi-scalar forces at play in the workplace, this article sheds light on the relationship between emerging South-South global encounters, national political realities, and labour geographies in African contexts shaped by mega-projects.




Cezne, E., & Wethal, U. (2022). Reading Mozambique’s mega-project developmentalism through the workplace: Evidence from Chinese and Brazilian investments. African Affairs, 121(484), 343–370.

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