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Conceptualizing the Developmental State in Resource-Rich Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Ghebremusse Sara

    () (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Ontario, Canada)


This paper uses the “developmental state” model to conceptualize state participation in African extractive sectors. What form thss can take in resource-rich states has not been extensively studied, since most countries labeled as “developmental states” lacked significant natural resources. Borrowing from the experiences of “successful” African developmental states – notably Botswana and Mauritius – this paper proposes a graduated developmental state model that is driven by state capacity, both fiscally and structurally. This paper is divided as follows: Section 2 provides an overview of the “developmental state” and examines the specific role law has played in its evolution. Section 3 then examines the developmental state in Sub-Saharan Africa, paying particular attention to model countries put forth in the literature. Finally, Section 4 proposes the graduated developmental state model in resource-rich Sub-Saharan Africa by examining important considerations for its adoption and providing tailored recommendations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghebremusse Sara, 2015. "Conceptualizing the Developmental State in Resource-Rich Sub-Saharan Africa," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 467-502, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:lawdev:v:8:y:2015:i:2:p:467-502:n:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    4. Jamee Moudud & Karl Botchway, 2008. "The Search for a New Developmental State," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 5-26.
    5. Mkandawire, Thandika, 2001. "Thinking about Developmental States in Africa," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 289-313, May.
    6. Esteban Caldentey, 2008. "The Concept and Evolution of the Developmental State," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 27-53.
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