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Leapfrogging Manufacturing? Rwanda’s Attempt to Build a Services-Led ‘Developmental State’

Pritish Behuria () and Tom Goodfellow ()
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Pritish Behuria: The University of Manchester
Tom Goodfellow: University of Sheffield

The European Journal of Development Research, 2019, vol. 31, issue 3, 581-603

Abstract: Abstract A key characteristic of East Asian ‘developmental states’ was a strategic focus on manufacturing, but developing countries today face more complex decisions about whether to prioritise manufacturing or attempt to ‘leapfrog’ straight to services. Rwanda is a striking example of a country that both resembles a developmental state and employs a service-led strategy. We argue that, unlike the Asian developmental states, Rwanda is not experiencing an integrated process of transformation that ties human development together with economic growth. Instead, there are two parallel trajectories within the services sector: a growth story linked to investment in ‘modern’ services (such as tourism, finance and real estate), and a human development story linked to ‘basic’ services such as health and education, with limited linkages between the two. This mismatch between growth sectors and the labour force raises questions about the sustainability of services-led approaches and their ability to emulate the East Asian experience.

Keywords: Developmental state; Services; Rwanda; MICE; FIRE; Tourism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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