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New Article: ‘We do our bit in our own space’: DAL Group and the development of a curiously Sudanese enclave economy

The Journal of Modern African Studies has published my paper about the Sudanese company DAL Group and the development of consumer driven ‘enclave economies’. 

Check out the abstract below or visit JMAS’s website for full details.


The family firm, DAL Group, is Sudan’s largest and most diversified company. Its growth has concentrated on consumer goods, rather than on state concessions or exports. It has developed its own training programmes, construction units, transportation networks and market research departments to manage the unstable environment outside its business walls. This paper focuses on the company’s recruitment policies, demonstrating how the firm relies on its own internal family structure and a transnational network of Sudanese professionals in order to grow and prosper. Such self-reliance contributes to growing political frustration among young unemployed people. Graduates from ‘marginal’ areas rely more heavily on public advertisements and on information obtained from state bodies, not the private channels of wasta (personal intermediation) that cut through contemporary business. The paper concludes by comparing DAL with similar business networks in Ethiopia and Rwanda, arguing that DAL is a unique and interesting form of ‘enclave economy’, shaped by a displaced transnational elite operating in a hostile political environment. Within the wider political context of Sudan, there is a limit to what similar businesses can achieve.


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