This article responds to a preference for short-term history in research on the infrastructure turn by engaging with the longue durée of East Africa’s latest infrastructure scramble. It traces the history of LAPSSET in Kenya and the Central Corridor in Tanzania, revealing the coloniality of new and improved transport infrastructure along both corridors. This exercise demonstrates how the spatial visions and territorial plans of colonial administrators get built in to new infrastructure and materialise in ways that serve the interests of global capital rather than peasant and indigenous peoples being promised more modern, prosperous futures. The article concludes by suggesting that a focus on the longue durée also reveals uneven patterns of mobility and immobility set in motion during the colonial scramble for Africa and reinforced after independence. These “colonial moorings” are significant as they shape political reactions to new mega-infrastructure projects today and constrain the emancipatory potential of infrastructure-led development.
- Central Corridor
- Infrastructure-led development
- Territorial design
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes