Book Chapter
Developmental Nationalism and Economic Performance in Africa

The Case of Three ‘Successful’ African Economies

This paper examines the relationship between institution building and economic performance in Mauritius, Botswana and Uganda. The rationale for comparing these cases is simple. While the three have been super-economic stars in their own right, they have achieved substantially different outcomes. Mauritius has achieved Asia-type rapid growth, backed by the structural transformation of the economy from colonial commodity production (sugar) to postcolonial higher value-added industrial and information outcomes. Botswana has delivered rapid and sustained growth with no structural economic transformation. Uganda has attained rapid growth for a shorter postcolonial period (since 1992) and with no structural transformation. This paper contends that these cross-national differences largely arise from the presence of developmental nationalism plus Weberian bureaucracies in Mauritius and Botswana, and their absence in Uganda.