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Business and the State in Southern Africa: The Politics of Economic Reform

Scott D. Taylor
Business and the State in Southern Africa: The Politics of Economic Reform
ISBN: 978-1-58826-498-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-101-9
2007/267 pages/LC: 2006033583

"An important political science contribution to newly arising debates about African economic policy.... With regard to Africa, it goes beyond Peter Evans’ now famous representation of ‘embedded autonomy’ as the policy mode required to achieve effective economic governance."—Helmut Asche, Afrika Spectrum

"A fine and valuable contribution to our understanding of the important role each player (business and government) has in the region’s potential for sustained economic growth and development."—Donald L. Sparks, African Affairs

"This is a fine study, based on original field research and extensive interviews and unpublished material.... Taylor presents both a strong theoretical framework and compelling narratives."—Deborah Brautigam, American University


Why are productive, development-supporting relations between business and government still so rare in Africa? Scott Taylor addresses this question, examining state-business coalitions as they emerge, and endure or collapse, in three representative countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

Taylor illuminates three possible trajectories: an abortive state-business coalition, as in Zambia; the emergence of a short-lived coalition, as in Zimbabwe; and a relatively successful and thus far durable coalition, as in South Africa. Though rooted in the southern African experience, his cases reflect much of the variance in outcomes throughout sub-Saharan Africa and shed light on the prospects for economic reform and development on the continent.


Scott D. Taylor is Director of the African Studies Program and associate professor, School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is coauthor of Politics in Southern Africa: State and Society in Transition.


  • Business and the State.
  • The Origins and Fate of Business-State Coalitions.
  • Business-State Cooperation in Zambia: Rhetoric and Realities.
  • From Partnership to Enmity: Business, the State, and Economic Collapse in Zimbabwe.
  • South Africa: Both Model and Cautionary Tale?
  • Crafting Business-State Coalitions: Lessons for, and from, Southern Africa.