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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: March 2020

5 - International Trade

from Part II - Problematic Explanations and Solutions


This chapter examines (1) publicly available data on the municipal activities of TNCs culled from their own corporate reports, (2) the powers of local governments enshrined in local laws vis-a-vis the protections of TNCs under international law, (3) public opinion of municipal residents as captured in various surveys, (4) the results of scientific studies, including those that test the chemical composition of fuels sold by TNCs, and (5) those studies that subject the exercise of political power to social scientific analyses.

On these bases, it can be argued that, although they are not accountable to any electorate, transnational corporations (TNCs) in Africa play significant roles in planning and governing cities in Africa. TNCs effectively manage important aspects of African life through control of municipal utilities, through the corporate governance of natural resources held by Africans in common, and through ad hoc investment practices that facilitate the private appropriation of socially created rents.