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State‐led industrial development, structural transformation and elite‐led plunder: Angola (2002–2013) as a developmental state

Jesse Salah Ovadia

Development Policy Review, 2018, vol. 36, issue 5, 587-606

Abstract: From 2002 to 2013, Angola engaged in large‐scale state‐led reconstruction and development alongside an elite‐led appropriation and seizure of national assets. Until the oil price shock, Angola had been succeeding in promoting rapid economic growth, and possibly even significant social development, alongside a massive grab of wealth and power by local elites. Today, though an economic crisis has taken hold, frequent predictions of the country's imminent collapse have yet to be fulfilled. This article reviews the state's development planning and expenditure with a focus on public investment and industrial development to determine to what extent Angola during this period might be considered a developmental or petro‐developmental state. It is argued that, while more significant than generally thought, petro‐developmental outcomes were and are limited by the autocratic and neopatrimonial tendencies of the Angolan elite. Nevertheless, limited success with structural transformation may have lasting effects. Following its long civil war, the conditions existed for Angola to follow a new path of state‐led development. Though it may now be more difficult, structural transformation and economic diversification remain the only path to economic and social development.

Date: 2018
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