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Title: Committing to self-reliance and negotiating vulnerability : understanding the developmental change in Rwanda
Author: Behuria, Pritish
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9336
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government has made remarkable economic progress over the past two decades. During this time, the RPF government's policies have demonstrated similarities with the policies followed by East Asian developmental states. The government has intervened in the economy to promote diversification while also opening its economy to international competition. It has also made strategic investments, which have led to the adoption of new production techniques. Conditions of 'systemic vulnerability' have also applied in Rwanda (Doner et al. 2005). However, the RPF government's strategy is also strikingly different since it has liberalised its financial sector and has only experienced limited manufacturing sector growth. It has also embraced governance reforms to a greater degree than most other developmental states. The RPF's development strategy has been shaped by the competing demands of 'three constituencies' - donors, domestic elites and the population. To manage capital and organise labour to appropriate systems of accumulation, the government has developed narratives as one way to retain legitimacy among three constituencies. Evidence of continued economic success and progress in three sectors (coffee, tea and mining) show that ruling elites are committed to economic development. However, vulnerabilities resulting from the need to appease 'three constituencies' have inhibited economic development. This thesis highlights the evolution of elite politics, details RPF ideology and develops a historical study of three sectors (coffee, tea and mining). Though previous governments invested in increasing the production of primary commodity exports, very little was done to reduce the vulnerability of the economy to global commodity price fluctuations. In contrast, the RPF's strategy has targeted reducing vulnerability to international price fluctuations through increasing productivity and embracing value-addition. Such goals work in line with achieving self-reliance. A better understanding of the developmental challenge facing the RPF government is developed through showcasing how vulnerability both motivates and inhibits economic development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral