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project Series Event Series: Decolonizing Money and Finance

Decolonizing Money and Finance

YSI Workshop in Cairo

Start time:

December 13, 2023 - December 14, 2023



Centre d'Études et de Documentation Économiques, Juridiques, et Sociales du Caire, Qasr El Nil, Cairo Governorate




Speaker Image
Juan Flores Zendejas

Mentor of the event

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Aaron Jakes

Mentor of the event

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Gerold Krozewski

Mentor of the event

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Alden Young

Guest lecturer

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Anna-Riikka Kauppinen

Roundtable Panelist

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Tinashe Nyamunda

Roundtable Panelist


Widely seen as a turning point for decolonization, World War II also marked a new phase in international finance, as the dollar increasingly clearly displaced sterling. This workshop gives young academics an opportunity to meet in Cairo on Decembre 13th and 14th 2023, to explore relatively understudied colonial monetary systems, institutions and finance. Centering money and monetary institutions in discussions of economic and social dynamics in the Global South, this event is for young academics interested in unpacking the decolonial turn in finance and money.

Organized by the YSI Economic History, Africa and History of Economic Thought Working Groups, the workshop aims at delving into the transformation of retreating empires and the rise of newly emerging nation-states within a post-war financial infrastructure emblematized by the U.S.-led Bretton Woods institutions and the Marshall Plan. This workshop provides an opportunity to reflect on the historical experience of the Global South from diverse perspectives, regional, national and global, and to assess the current position of these economies in the world economy. The event will be hosted in Cairo by the Centre d’Etudes et de Documentation Economiques, Juridiques et sociales – Cedej.

The workshop also offers an opportunity for early career researchers in the Global South to engage with mentors from the alumni of the YSI community and other senior economic historians to explore further the debate on decolonising money.

Program (susceptible to change)

To join online: please check the workshop’s booklet for the zoom link.

Day 1: December 13

9:30 Welcome address – Pascal Menoret (Cedej)

9:40 Introductory lecture: Gerold Krozewski, (Osaka University) [online]: “Sterling, colonies, and aid relations: contextualizing British state agency between empire and post-empire”

10:15 Alden Young, (University of California Los Angeles) [online]: “The new economic history of Africa: Some notes on Monetary Crises”

10:45 Q&A and Discussion, Moderator: Atiya Hussain (Geneva Graduate Institute)


11:30-13:00 Session 1 – From settlement to the post-colony: Monetary History across Empires

Chair: Maylis Avaro (University of Pennsylvania)

  •  Amr Khairy (Lund University): The “Want of Capital”… The Cotton Gin: Monetising Taxes and Mechanising Cotton Production in Egypt (1855-63)
  • Atiya Hussain (Geneva Graduate Institute): Dividing the Rupee: Territorial sovereignty and development in the decolonization of British India
  • Juliette Françoise (University of Geneva): Colonial money ; colonial or public debt ? Troubles with and uses of paper money in the Mascarenes in the eighteenth century. [online]

13:00 LUNCH BREAK (1 hour)

14:00-16:00 Session 2 – Central Banking and Monetary Policy

Chair: Aaron Jakes (University of Chicago)

  • Simbai Masikinye, Mutimbanyoka (University of Cambridge): Power Matrices: The politics of Banking in the Central African Federation (CAF), 1953-1963
  • Maylis Avaro (University of Pennsylvania): Zombie International Currency: the pound sterling, 1945-1971
  • Mohamed Mabrouk (Fayoum University): The National Bank of Egypt and the Crisis of Sterling Balances, 1916-1955 (in Arabic)
  • Sherif Emam (Ain Shams University): Banque Misr and the Decolonisation of the Monetary Policy: Critical Readings of Eric David’s Works (in Arabic)


16:15 -18:15 Roundtable – Researching African Economic History: Challenges and Innovations  

Chair: Maylis Avaro (University of Pennsylvania), Atiya Hussain (Geneva Graduate Institute)

  • Aaron Jakes (University of Chicago)
  • Juan Flores (University of Geneva)
  • Tinashe Nyamunda (University of Glasgow)  [online]
  • Anna-Riikka Kauppinen, (Geneva Graduate Institute)  [online]

20:00 DINNER

Day 2: 14 December

 9:30-10:30 Session 3: 

Chair: Pascal Menoret (Cedej)

  • Ahmed Elhussiny-Eid (Cairo University): The Conditionality of the Chinese’s Investments in Tanzania, 1978-2003
  • Aminu Bakari Bayero (University of Kano): Colonial Infrastructure Finance in Nigeria: Contextualising the Local Loans Registered Stock 1946-1956 [online]


10:50-11:50 Session 4: Challenges of Monetary Areas

Chair: Juan Flores (University of Geneva)

  • Bamidele Aly (Birbeck College, London): Monetary (policy) strategies in the Sterling Area: Gold Coast/Ghana and Nigeria (1953 – 1967)
  • Rodrigue Dossou-Cadja Sapienza (University of Rome): The 1992-93 EMS Crisis and the South: Lessons from the Franc Zone System and the 1994 CFA Franc Devaluation

11:50-12:45 Networking and Academic Publishing Session 

12:45 – 14:00 LUNCH BREAK

14:00-16:00 Session 5: Commodity And Agricultural Finance 

Chair: Peter Uledi (Stellenbosch University)

  • Tinashe Takuva (University of Edinburgh): An Economic History of the Land and Agricultural Bank of Southern Rhodesia, 1924- 1963
  • Karima Elnaggar (Zagazig University): U.S. Banks and the Rubber Trade in Brazil, 1906-1945 (in Arabic)
  • Emmanuel Nii Adotei Baddoo (University of Ghana): Colonial Versus State Money: The Politics of the Gold Coast Cocoa Marketing Board
  • Hildete de Moraes Vodopives (Centre Roland Mousnier, Sorbonne University): An episode in the history of Brazil: bottlenecks, alliances, and the foundation of a multinational company [online]


16:20-17:00  Next Steps: YSI presentation and brainstorming 

17:00 -18:30 Keynote

Speaker: Aaron Jakes (University of Chicago): “Money Waters: The Suez Canal, Monetary Sovereignty, and the Long Demise of Sterling.”

Moderator: Mostafa Abdelaal (Cairo University)

Closing remarks: Mostafa Abdelaal (YSI), Maylis Avaro (University of Pennsylvania)

Hosted by Working Group(s):