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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

Central Banks in Conflict: Libya and Yemen

Thursday 18 March 2021
What's New?! Spring Lecture Series 2021
This is an online event. Please register to receive the link to the lecture.

This paper, part of a new research project, looks at the role of central banks during times of conflict. It focuses particularly on the cases of Libya and Yemen starting from 2014 until the present. In both contexts, the central banks have experienced internal schisms, leading to a situation in which there are two rivalling institutions and two rivalling banknotes. As supreme national economic authorities, central banks are sites of political contestation. They form key nodes in the link between domestic conflict and international networks and are highly strategic instruments of state power. Despite their self-depiction as independent, technocratic, or non-partisan agents, central banks are political entities, embedded within structures of power. In this paper, they are not conceptualized merely as agents of economic sovereignty but also as actors vying for the country’s political future. The paper accordingly seeks to situate the Yemeni and Libyan central banks within matrices of power, dynamics of expertise and technocratic knowledge, as well as international political economy. In doing so, it seeks to emphasize that the economy cannot merely be understood as a casualty of conflict. 

About Heba Taha

Heba Taha is a Lecturer of International Relations at Leiden University’s Institute for Area Studies. She is also a Research Affiliate of Nuclear Knowledges at Sciences Po Paris, in the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI). She has a DPhil from the University of Oxford (2017) and previously had postdoctoral fellowships at Sciences Po Paris and at the American University of Beirut. She is interested in the intersections of economy, war, and technology in the contemporary Middle East. 

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