Did the state make all the difference? A case study of state influence on development in Botswana and Zambia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis investigates the role states play in promoting and directing a country’s development. More specifically, it is examined, which factors determine differences in state performance and why different types of states form. This is done through a comparative case study of Botswana and Zambia, two southern African countries that after a similar start into independence developed very differently. By looking at those two cases it is found that in both countries the level of congruence between precolonial, colonial and post-colonial state had a strong influence on the type of state that formed after independence. Further, it is found that the respective states played a key role in determining developmental success or failure. Botswana’s strong developmental state was able to lead Botswana towards successful economic development. Zambia’s development, on the other hand, suffered greatly under its neo-patrimonial state for years. These findings support arguments for an increased focus on the state as an agent of development and raise questions concerning the, until recently, highly influential neo-liberal arguments for a minimal state and free market forces.

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