APPP Working Paper No. 19. Anti-developmental patrimonialism in Zimbabwe.


Research on investment climates and economic growth in developing countries is refocusing attention away from institutional ‘best practices’ and onto the ways in which developmentally successful regimes make use of economic rents. APPP research is exploring this issue with particular reference to sub-Saharan Africa. This study of the Zimbabwe experience contributes to a comparative exercise including two other countries (Ethiopia and Rwanda) where the ruling party owns significant economic assets through a holding company, and has at least potentially, therefore, an ability to deploy rents in developmental ways. After documenting and discussing the significance of the principal rent flows in four periods of Zimbabwe’s history, the paper concludes that the country has come to exhibit a pattern of rent utilization which is centralized but oriented to the short term, with disastrous results. The Zimbabwe case shows that there is nothing intrinsically developmental about party holding companies, and that centralization of rent management by itself does not indicate a ‘developmental patrimonialism’.


Dawson, M.; Kelsall, T. APPP Working Paper No. 19. Anti-developmentalpatrimonialism in Zimbabwe. Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), Overseas Development Institute, London, UK (2011) 38 pp.

APPP Working Paper No. 19. Anti-developmental patrimonialism in Zimbabwe.

Published 1 January 2011