Rethinking the Relationship between Neo-patrimonialism and Economic Development in Africa

Abstract

Is it possible to work with the grain of neo-patrimonial politics to boost investment and growth in Africa? Current donor orthodoxy is that neo-patrimonialism is irredeemably bad for economic development, but evidence from other regions, together with a re-examination of the African record itself, suggests that this may not be true. We present evidence from case studies of Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi and Rwanda to show that provided mechanisms can be found to centralise economic rents and manage them with a view to the long term, neo-patrimonialism can be harnessed for developmental ends.

Citation

IDS Bulletin (2011) 42 (2) 76-87 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2011.00213.x]

Rethinking the Relationship between Neo-patrimonialism and Economic Development in Africa

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