Developmental Patrimonialism?

Business and Politics 1

New book: Business, Politics and the State in Africa: Challenging the Orthodoxies on Growth and Transformation, Tim Kelsall, Zed Books Ltd, January 2013

'Tim Kelsall has written a seminal book...  advances the debate on governance and development into a new and more productive field, and is sure to stand as a key text for the next decade.' Alex de Waal, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation


Commentators are beginning to ask whether emerging from Africa is a new generation of 'lion' economies to challenge the East Asian 'tigers'? This book goes behind the headlines to examine the conditions necessary not just for growth in Africa but for a wider business and economic transformation. Contrary to neo-liberal economics, it argues that governments can play an important role in this through selective interventions to correct market failures, and, controversially, that 'neo-patrimonial' governance need not necessarily be an obstacle to improved business and economic conditions. Drawing on timely case studies - including Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana - this provocative book provides a radical new theory of the political and institutional conditions required for pro-poor growth in Africa.


More reviews:

'It is delightful to be puzzling more over Africa's successes than its failures. It is great to read a book that both helps us to puzzle and points to the likely answers. When all that is done in clear prose, we have something well worth reading.' Mick Moore, Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies

‘The author’s findings and conclusions are sure to be profoundly discomfiting for practitioners - in ways which contribute to, and hopefully will help, spur the new thinking which is urgently needed.' Brian Levy, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and University of Cape Town, and formerly a World Bank governance advise


Business and Politics 1

Research Stream

Led by: Dr Tim Kelsall, in collaboration with associates in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia

Countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe

Theme: There is a consensus in development circles that sustainable poverty reduction rests on accelerated levels of economic growth, a precondition of which is a rise in the level of productive investment. Analysis of how to improve the investment climate in Africa has therefore taken centre stage. Current thinking on business and investment in Africa is encapsulated by the good governance agenda and arguably does not pay enough attention to Africa's political and economic realities - in particular its high social diversity, strong traditions of clientelism and weak formal institutions.

This research stream looks at seven historical and six contemporary African cases. It asks whether a more realistic understanding of the investment environment in Africa is needed - one which pays particular attention to the ways in which informal institutions may contribute to creating a climate conducive to business and investment, and to broader development agendas.

Research aim: By challenging conventional wisdom on business and investment in Africa this research hopes to lay the foundation for more informed policy decisions concerning investment by African governments and donors. It explores the ingredients of a favourable climate for long-term, productivity-enhancing investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings will tell us more about the precise conditions under which ‘developmental patrimonialism' is likely to be the best available option for a poor developing country.

The Africa Power and Politics Programme was a Research Programme Consortium funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Irish Aid for the benefit of developing countries.
The views expressed on this website and in APPP's publications are those of the authors and should not be attributed to DFID or Irish Aid or any of APPP's member organisations.