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Land Reform and Development Strategy in Zimbabwe: State Autonomy, Class and Agrarian Lobby

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Moyo, Sam; Skalness, Tor
Journal: Afrika Focus
Volume: 6
Page(s): 201-242
Date: 1990
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7021
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): development
land tenure and use
economic policy
Abstract: "Much of the literature on the political determinants of African economic policies that has been produced over the last decade seems to be motivated by the need to make some sense out of the following apparent fact. Even as the characteristic policies pursued by African governments have been shown to have severely adverse consequences, sufficient internal forces are seldom mobilised to have them substituted for a more 'realistic' set of policies. Sustained external pressure from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international donors seems to be necessary for such policy reorientation to occur. In other words, writers searching for the political rationality behind the typical set of African economic policies seem to assume that these policies are economically 'irrational'. If that assumption is accepted as valid, explanations of policy outcomes in terms of the dominance over the policy process of a certain coalition of special interests (for instance, Bates, 1981) attain inherent plausibility. This is so because we tend to believe that in the absence of strong political pressure to the contrary, governments would choose policies that promote growth, a sustainable balance of payments, and generally increased economic well-being for the country as a whole. It is not our intention to challenge the assumption of the economic destructiveness of past African policies here. Rather we shall concern ourselves with an issue on which there is very little consensus as to what policy direction would produce the greatest net benefit to the country as a whole, i.e., what would consitute the economically sensible course of action for a given country to pursue. This issue is land reform, and the empirical case is Zimbabwe."

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