The empire of speculation: medicine, markets, and nation in India’s Pan-African e-Network

Author’s Abstract

In September 2004, former president of India Abdul Kalam proposed to connect Africa with India through a network aimed at providing healthcare services. Five years later, the Pan-African e-Network (PAN) was launched. PAN is a digital infrastructure connecting doctors and patients across the African continent with tertiary care hospitals in India. It is integrated solution to care for patients at a distance. But beyond everyday medical care, this article suggests that PAN exists primarily as a state of desire. Drawing upon ethnographic research, it explores PAN as a speculative project which makes present uncertain futures. The argument laid out is threefold. First, I suggest that PAN speculates on the South as a market and medical formation, emerging not in response but in blatant indifference to Euro-American spaces, assumptions, or priorities—including those dominant in global health spheres. Second, I argue that PAN acts as a medium for the Indian nation to perform itself as an ascendant global healthcare provider, and power. As a gift, the network remakes the identities of the giver and receiver. Third, I examine PAN’s distinctive infrastructural qualities, showing how their imaginative, material, and territorializing effects are critical in shaping both market and nationalist speculation.

Post Description

  • Publication year: 2020
  • Content type: Article
  • Form of cooperation: Comprehensive
  • Cooperation context: Multi-lateral
  • Sector: Health; Trade
  • Institution (publication): BioSocieties
  • Author: Vincent Duclos
  • Keywords: Pan-African e-Network; Health; SAARC
  • Link: