n Journal of Public Administration - The developmental state and conceptual interpolations : a comparative policy-targeting for South Africa within a global context

Volume 42, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article sets out to explore arguments for the developmental state in Africa and South Africa in particular. A fundamental case for the developmental state is the pursuit of interventionist economic policies as against absolute neo-liberalist and even protectionist policies. However, in a highly globalised and utilitarian world, the gains of the developmental state examples of the Asian Tigers are considered as difficult to replicate in other developing regions like Africa by public governance scholars and global economic policy watchers. Thus, the development arena is pervaded with Western prescribed conditions for aid such as a free market economy and democracy. The developmental state is not a new concept in South African governance. The pro-poor stance of local economic development policies, government infrastructural expansion programmes, social welfare grant policies, as well as employment and business equity policies show a level of government intervention in the redistribution of wealth and social justice. Whether these policies have translated into measurable strides in terms of development indicators are yet to be established. Nevertheless, this article will explore the character of the developmental state as extracted from some recent successes and try to isolate core issues that can be factored into African policy and development environment.

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