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Business and the State in Africa
Economic Policy-Making in the Neo-Liberal Era

$36.00 ( ) USD

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About the Authors
  • The dominant developmental approach in Africa over the last twenty years has been to advocate the role of markets and the private sector in restoring economic growth. Recent thinking has also stressed the need for 'ownership' of economic reform by the populations of developing countries, particularly the business community. This book studies the business-government interactions of four African countries: Ghana, Zambia, South Africa and Mauritius. Employing a historical institutionalist approach, Antoinette Handley considers why and how business in South Africa and Mauritius has developed the capacity to constructively contest the making of economic policy while, conversely, business in Zambia and Ghana has struggled to develop any autonomous political capacity. Paying close attention to the mutually constitutive interactions between business and the state, Handley considers the role of timing and how ethnicised and racialised identities can affect these interactions in profound and consequential ways.

    • Features case studies on Ghana, Zambia, South Africa and Mauritius
    • Traces the historical development of core political institutions and reveals how these shape policy outcomes in dramatic and consequential ways
    • Advances understanding of the nature of Africa's capitalist classes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “A very serious and illuminating piece of scholarship about a strangely ignored topic in Africa. Handley has a clear and compelling theoretical argument that is nicely grounded in the cross-regional literature about state-business relationships and development. Her four country case studies on Ghana, Zambia, Mauritius, and South Africa are well done and based on real on-the-ground research – rare these days and certainly for this topic and place. At the same time, these fine empirical chapters always keep the historical context clearly in focus. Given the efforts at reforming African economies since the 1980s, this topic is absolutely central to any discussion of Africa’s future. A fine book that really plugs Africa into the ongoing cross-regional debates about development.”
    Thomas M. Callaghy, University of Pennsylvania

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2008
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511410574
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the African business class and development
    Part I. Institutionalizing Constructive Contestation:
    1. Ethnicity, race, and the development of the South African business class, 1870–1989
    2. The neo-liberal era in South Africa: negotiating capitalist development
    3. Business and government in Mauritius: public hostility, private pragmatism
    Part II. Business and the Neo-patrimonial State:
    4. The emergence of neo-patrimonial business in Ghana, 1850–1989
    5. State-dominant reform: Ghana in the 1990s and 2000s
    6. Business and government in Zambia: too close for comfort
    Conclusion: comparatively speaking: the business of economic policymaking.

  • Author

    Antoinette Handley, University of Toronto
    Antoinette Handley is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include policy-making and economic reform in developing countries, business-government relations, and HIV/AIDS and the political economies of Africa. She has published articles in the Journal of Modern African Studies, Current History and the Canadian Journal of African Studies.

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