P230 – Under What Conditions Does Economic Development Become Politically Attractive? From Political Capture to Political Mobilization
10 July, 14:00 – 15:30

Akinyoade Akinyinka / African Studies Centre, Leiden
Whitfield Lindsay / RUC, Roskilde University



Jerven Morten / Simon Fraser University

The discourse surrounding economic development has changed once more. No longer defined by an absence of the state, markets and economies are now seen to require ‘good governance’. In place of the state-market divide, we find a politics-market divide, with poor and indebted governments instructed to put politics to one side in the interests of getting serious about development. This extrication of politics from the development process neglects a vast literature documenting the role of internal political and external geopolitical shocks in re-orientating European and Asian power-holders towards economic development as a power accumulation strategy. While conventional wisdom has deemed Africa’s neo-patrimonial political culture too corrupt and its states too weak for the emergence of such a developmental orientation, work by Thandika Mkandawire (2001), Antoinette Handley (2011), and Tim Kelsall (2012), among others, encourages us to more closely scrutinize instances where changing political conditions have pressured political elites to re-evaluate their political settlements and decide economic mobilization is in their interests. This panel seeks to unearth such cases by asking, under what conditions does economic development become politically attractive to African political elites?

Dans quelles conditions le développement économique devient-il politiquement attrayant? De la capture politique à la mobilisation politique

Le discours sur le développement économique a une fois de plus changé. Il n’est plus défini par rapport à une absence de l’Etat, mais par rapport aux marchés et aux économies qui sont désormais astreints à une exigence de «bonne gouvernance». Au lieu de la fracture État-marché, nous trouvons une fracture politique-marché, avec des gouvernements pauvres et endettés qui sont contraints de mettre les politiques de côté, afin que le développement soit considéré comme un enjeu sérieux. Cette élimination du politique du processus de développement néglige de considérer une vaste littérature qui a souligné le rôle des chocs géopolitiques externes, ainsi que politiques internes, en réorientant les détenteurs du pouvoir européens et asiatiques vers le développement économique comme pouvoir stratégique d’accumulation. Alors que la sagesse conventionnelle a jugé la culture  politique néo-patrimoniale de l’Afrique comme étant trop corrompue et ses Etats trop faibles pour favoriser l’émergence d’une telle orientation de développement, les travaux de Thandika Mkandawire (2001), Antoinette Handley (2011), et Tim Kelsall (2012) entre autres , nous encouragent à étudier les cas où l’évolution des conditions politiques a fait pression sur les élites politiques de sorte à réévaluer leurs orientations politiques, et de faire en sorte qu’une mobilisation sur le plan économique se révèle à leur intérêt. L’objectif de ce panel est d’interroger les conditions qui font que le développement économique soit politiquement attrayant pour les élites politiques africaines.

Paper 1

Whitfield Lindsay / RUC, DK

Buur Lars / RUC, DK

The Politics of African Industrial Policy

This paper presents a framework for understanding the conditions under which industrial policies are successfully implemented and the politics that make those conditions possible. It is composed of two parts. The first part is a theory of successful industrial policy, The second part is a theory explaining the political configurations under which these conditions for successful industrial policy emerge. We build on previous individual and comparative country studies, but chose Mushtaq Khan’s Political Settlements theory as a key pillar in our framework because it identifies in a more systematic way the complex causal relations. We elaborate Political Settlements theory by linking it to the micro-level of industrial policy outcomes and teasing out the causal mechanisms that affect whether the three conditions for successful industrial policy emerge. In applying this framework to African countries, it becomes clear that what sets African countries apart from other developing countries (in terms of African countries’ weaker economic performance) is not a unique kind of African politics or a more detrimental form of neo-patrimonial politics, but rather the characteristics of African domestic capitalists. The small size and limited capabilities of black African capitalists at independence, and the fact that they did not dominate the key exporting sectors of the economy, shaped the political settlement in ways that took on path dependent trajectories in the post-independence.

Paper 2

Gray Hazel / LSE

The Socialist Political Settlement and its Long Term Implications for Economic Transformation in Tanzania and Vietnam

This paper examines the long term implications of attempts to construct socialist political settlements on contemporary economic transformation in Tanzania and Vietnam. In both countries the impact of attempts to construct an alternative path of economic development through state-led socialism in the 1960s and 1970s reverberated throughout the period of liberalisation, affecting not only the structure of formal institutions at the heart of the state but also the wider distribution of power in society. The paper sets out the meaning of a socialist political settlement and argues that the legacy of this period was manifested in four critical areas during the period of higher growth rates from the 2000s. These were: first, the centralising impact of the institutions of the ruling party; second, the consolidation of political control by intermediate class groups within the structures of the state; third, the creation of institutions that were formally created to represent the poor in society that continued to be critical for the legitimacy of the ruling party; and, fourth, attempts to re-structure economic power that created new economic actors and forged new relations between the private sector and the state. The paper demonstrates how differences between Tanzania and Vietnam within these four aspects of their socialist political settlements shaped the way that elites sought to manage processes of economic transformation under liberalization.

Paper 3

Akinyoade Akinyinka / African Studies Centre, Leiden

Enweremadu David / Unniversity of Ibadan

A Tale of Two Giants: Oil and Economic Development in Nigeria and Indonesia (1960-1999)

The central objective of this paper is to highlight and compare the development trajectories of Nigeria and Indonesia during the years spanning 1966-1999, with a view to identifying the key factors driving rapid socio-economic development and economic stagnation observed in both countries respectively. Of special interest to us, will be knowing to what extent political instability and economic policies adopted by governments in these two countries accounted for these turning points. Is rapid economic development in the case of Indonesia and Stagnant growth in the case of Nigeria the direct outcome of chosen economic policies? What other factors, apart from economic policies and political instability, are relevant in explaining the divergence in developmental outcomes observed between Nigeria and Indonesia in the last four decades? In this wise, our goal is to go beyond the three already identified pre-conditions for economic growth and development (macro economic stability, economic freedom and pro-poor/ rural spending), by examining the possible impact of other variables, key among which are population control and foreign aid and investment.

Paper 4

Usman Zainab / University of Oxford

Elites, Political Settlements & Economic Reform: Assessing Economic Diversification in Nigeria since 1999

Political Settlements or the distribution of power are critical to understanding politics of economic reform. This political settlement is comprised of elite bargains, wider coalitions with social groups, an economic agenda and institutionalisation of the arrangement. It reflects the relative power of social groups and their respective elite factions. My findings suggest that a ruling coalition’s response to existential threats to its access to economic resources determines the direction of economic reform – how resources are allocated to generate productivity or enable extraction. The composition and orientation of the ruling coalition determines their perceptions of threats, policy responses to address market failure, and whether they reinforce or reconfigure existing political and economic institutions. Assessing Nigeria’s efforts to diversify its economy from dependence on oil in GDP, export and government revenues since democratisation in 1999, my paper shows that the expansion of non-oil growth-driving sectors is autonomous of the underlying unstable political settlement. Previous reforms to mitigate economic crisis liberalised these sectors. The concentration of these growth-driving sectors in the Southern regions corresponds to the mostly Southern composition of the national ruling elite. Redistribution would entail the mostly southern-dominated national ruling elite to shift resources generated from growth in the South to address poverty and exclusion in the North.

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