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Prag, Ebbe
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
DIIS Working Paper 2010:03
Ebbe Prag's paper - Entrepôt Politics: Political Struggles over the Dantokpa Marketplace in Cotonou, Benin - argues that marketplaces are a hub of formal and informal international trade. Furthermore, marketplaces are an important site for understanding national political struggles in Benin due to their key position in the economy. The lines of conflict at the very large Dantokpa marketplace in Cotonou duplicate the general pattern of fluid and opportunistic political alliances between 'regionally'-based parties around the government and the opposition in Beninese politics. At the market, political networks of non-state and state actors, party leaders, government officials and 'big men and women' compete for control over the huge resources generated from the market. Ebbe Prag's paper argues that the competition is embedded in and has been spurred on by democratisation in 1990 and decentralisation in 2002. Formally, the Beninese state governs the market, but its authority is weak, and public authority is shaped through and by struggles and negotiations between the competing political networks in a fluid and informal environment of clientelistic politics.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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