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Research Report

RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT: The role of the state in sub-Saharan Africa

Godwin Onuoha
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2008
Pages: 43
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep07767

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-2)
  2. (pp. 3-4)
  3. (pp. 5-6)

    This paper analyses the perverse and inverse relationship between wealth in natural resources and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines the linkages between these two factors, attributes of the dominant economic sectors of resource-rich countries in the region, and the current and potential role of the state in development. This leads to an examination of the capacity of the state in sub-Saharan Africa to foster indigenous development based on its dominant sectors, and the possibility of ‘developmental states’ emerging in the region. Contrary to the thesis that raid globalisation is eroding state capacity, and rendering the nation-state irrelevant, trends...

  4. (pp. 7-15)

    Historically, the idea of a central role for the state in the process of development dates back to the Meiji era in Japan, then to Prussia under Bismarck, and through to Gerschenkron and accounts of the Soviet ‘catch-up’ with the West. The government of these states adopted a state-designed developmental path which favoured state interventionism over a liberal open market. In the 1950s and 1960s, as a result of post-war planning models associated with import-substitution industrialisation and careful economic controls (Keeley 2003), dominant theories on post-World War II development were based on assumptions that state apparatuses could be employed to...

  5. (pp. 15-19)

    The search for a developmental path in Africa has become crucial. As several writers have observed, there have been attempts to extract and apply the lessons of the East Asian countries to other parts of the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (Mkandawire 2001; UNCTAD 1996; 1997; 1998; Akyuz, Chang and Kozul-Wright 1998; Sindzingre 2004). Moreover, doubts have been expressed about sub-Saharan Africa’s quality of institutional infrastructures, and the capacity of the state to devise, execute and supervise complex and demanding policies that were at the core of the East Asian success (UNCTAD 2007: 74). Much of this assumption is...

  6. (pp. 19-25)

    The diversity of perspectives of African economic development opens it up to a plethora of views and analysis. Within this context, this section of the paper engages the prospects of state developmentalism with a view to exploring the challenges confronting the existence of such states in Africa. First, much of the explanations of Africa’s development challenge appear to be conjectural, rather than being rooted and based in the actual economic and political history of the continent. Second, most of these analyses are derived from discriminatory comparisons between African states in crisis and idealised or tendentiously characterised states elsewhere. Third, these...

  7. (pp. 25-29)

    Generally, the sectoral approach holds the view that development in a resource-rich economy depends on the attributes of the leading sectors through which that country is linked to the global economy (Frieden 1988; Gourevitch 1986; Karl 1997; Kurth 1979; Schafer 1994). An examination of the Nigerian and Zambian cases does not necessarily imply that both replicate the same experience. Rather, it delves into the complex challenges that confront resource-rich countries in sub-Saharan Africa in their quest to foster indigenous development through their dominant sector. It provides insight into the internal and external forces that interact to influence the development crisis,...

  8. (pp. 30-34)

    The changes that left the oil and gas industry in Nigeria in its present state can be traced to 1988. Remarkably, these changes occurred in the context of IMF/World Bank conditionalities. As a mono-product economy, the oil and gas industry became the target of extensive reforms, which was justified as a necessary measure towards economic recovery. In 1988, the NNPC was divided into 12 strategic business units, covering the entire spectrum of the oil industry: exploration and production, gas development, refining, distribution, petrochemicals, engineering, and commercial investments. In 1989, the fifth participation agreement was reached, which gave the NNPC an...

  9. (pp. 34-35)

    The cases of Nigeria and Zambia clearly capture the centrality of their dominant resource in the quest for national development. In both contexts, these resources have been at the core of different policy formulations, distributive politics, and relations with global power networks. With particular reference to their dominant sectors, both countries are similar in their fundamental exposure and fragility in the context of local-global power relationships. The patterns of privatisation in Nigeria and Zambia were conditioned by the specific contexts that produced different conditions to shape the process.

    For Nigeria, oil has been at the heart of the economy. The...

  10. (pp. 36-36)
  11. (pp. 36-41)