Essays in Honour of J. George Waardenburg
Edited by Servaas Storm and C. W.M. Naastepad
Chapter 4: Income distribution, growth and protectionism in Sub-Saharan Africa and the case of Zimbabwe
1 Jørn Rattsø 1. INTRODUCTION Most of colonial Africa had strong government regulation of the economy, including foreign trade and capital ﬂows. This is an important background to understand the present debate about liberalization and globalization in Africa. The issue is not to return to the laissez-faire policies prevailing before socialist independence movements got rid of colonial rule. The new independent governments of the 1960s inherited a system of controls, and the regulatory apparatus was well designed to promote national planning and public sector dominance towards new goals. The governments chose to use the controls to protect industry and discriminate agriculture. Industrialization was the word of the day. The policy aimed at transferring the agricultural surplus to industrial investment. The attention here is concentrated on this interplay between agriculture and industry, rural and urban. With hindsight we can conclude that the independent governments generally were not successful in arranging the interaction between rural and urban to generate sustainable growth. Productivity in agriculture stagnated and industry never took over as an engine of growth. In this perspective, recent liberalization reforms can be seen as an acknowledgement of this failure and an attempt to ﬁnd a new growth model. In a political context, the urban and anti-export bias has been understood to be based on a separation between urban and rural constituencies. Bates (1981) argues that governments based their support on urban groups and arranged regulations to keep food prices low, and thereby urban industries proﬁtable. Marketing boards and protectionism...
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