The Origin of Extractive States in Africa: The Case of the British Cape Colony, 1834-1909

Research output: Working paper

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The Origin of Extractive States in Africa: The Case of the British Cape Colony, 1834-1909. / Gwaindepi, Abel; Fourie, Johan .

2019. p. 1-32 (ERSA working paper ; No. 783).

Research output: Working paper

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Gwaindepi, A., & Fourie, J. (2019). The Origin of Extractive States in Africa: The Case of the British Cape Colony, 1834-1909. (pp. 1-32). (ERSA working paper ; No. 783).

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TY - UNPB

T1 - The Origin of Extractive States in Africa: The Case of the British Cape Colony, 1834-1909

AU - Gwaindepi, Abel

AU - Fourie, Johan

PY - 2019/5/16

Y1 - 2019/5/16

N2 - The majority of African states continue to be regarded as extractivestates. We use the Cape Colony’s public expenditure to account for theemergence of extractive states in Africa. With a sub-imperial role forSothern African colonial expansion, the Cape Colony became a templatefor extractive practices that continue to characterize the region. Usingpublic expenditure data, budget debates and existing historiography, wetrace the elite competition for limited public resources that associatedthe Cape’s transition from an agrarian society to a mining-led economy.We find that the mining elites managed to make dominant coalitions thatderailed public expenditure decisions towards self-serving ends. With politicaland economic influence, their desires could not be vetoed in budgetsvotes and this inevitably gave the state its extractive character. The competinginterests of farmers and miners/industrialists; the lack of capital forinfrastructure investment; and limited executive constraints —widespreadfeatures of modern African economies — led to state capture by a narrowelite. The main lessons derived are that narrow/limited democratic spaces,politics of personalities, exclusion based on race or class and monopoliesin key economic sectors are breeding grounds for extractive states.

AB - The majority of African states continue to be regarded as extractivestates. We use the Cape Colony’s public expenditure to account for theemergence of extractive states in Africa. With a sub-imperial role forSothern African colonial expansion, the Cape Colony became a templatefor extractive practices that continue to characterize the region. Usingpublic expenditure data, budget debates and existing historiography, wetrace the elite competition for limited public resources that associatedthe Cape’s transition from an agrarian society to a mining-led economy.We find that the mining elites managed to make dominant coalitions thatderailed public expenditure decisions towards self-serving ends. With politicaland economic influence, their desires could not be vetoed in budgetsvotes and this inevitably gave the state its extractive character. The competinginterests of farmers and miners/industrialists; the lack of capital forinfrastructure investment; and limited executive constraints —widespreadfeatures of modern African economies — led to state capture by a narrowelite. The main lessons derived are that narrow/limited democratic spaces,politics of personalities, exclusion based on race or class and monopoliesin key economic sectors are breeding grounds for extractive states.

M3 - Working paper

T3 - ERSA working paper

SP - 1

EP - 32

BT - The Origin of Extractive States in Africa: The Case of the British Cape Colony, 1834-1909

ER -