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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oshikango: the dynamics of growth and regulation in a Namibian boom town
Author:Dobler, GregorISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:35
Issue:1
Pages:115-131
Language:English
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:international trade
trade policy
boundaries
municipal government
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070802685601
Abstract:Angola's economic reintegration into the Southern African region changes the economic and political landscape in the neighbouring countries. Apart from the country's new political influence, Angolan buying power leads to an economic boom in formerly marginal places along its borders. Oshikango, the main Namibian border post to Angola, is an impressive example of that change. Over the last 12 years, a forgotten outpost has developed into a sprawling boom town. The author first traces the town's development and gives an outline of the different economic activities that were instrumental in it. Next, he concentrates on the role of the border for the town's development and the construction of Namibian political and economic identity. While State regulations are enforced on both sides on the border, the transit between them is under-regulated and provides the economic opportunities that fuel the boom. Finally, the author looks at regulation within the boom town and its growing integration into the Namibian political landscape. The capacity of local administrators to profit from the boom rests on two interlinked factors: they are seen as bureaucratic representatives of State power, which lends legitimacy and leverage to their efforts of domination; but there is always too much to regulate in a boom town, which makes it possible to choose where and how to apply official rules without losing legitimacy. Through these dynamics of legitimacy and opportunity, the boom town of Oshikango is a place where State authority is reinforced, fuelled by the private interests of State representatives. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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