The illusion of capitalism in contemporary Sub‐Saharan Africa: a case study of the Gambia

Abdoulie Sallah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to evaluate critically the meta‐narrative that there is no alternative to capitalism. Building upon an emerging body of post‐structuralist thought that has begun deconstructing this discourse in relation to western economies and post‐Soviet societies, this paper further extends this critique to Sub‐Saharan Africa by investigating the degree to which people in the Gambia rely on the capitalist market economy for their livelihood. Reporting the results of 80 household face‐to‐face interviews (involving over 500 people), the finding is that only a small minority of households in contemporary Gambian society rely on the formal market economy alone to secure their livelihood and that the vast majority depend on a plurality of market and non‐market economic practices. The outcome is a call to re‐think the lived practices of economic transition in Sub‐Saharan Africa in general and the Gambia in particular, so as to open up the feasibility of, and possibilities for, alternative economic futures beyond capitalist hegemony.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-63
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Market economy
  • Developing economies
  • The Gambia
  • Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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