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Title: Developmentalism, dependency, and the state : industrial policy and structural transformation in Namibia since 1900
Author: Hope, Christopher James
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is about industrial development in Namibia over the 20th and 21st centuries: its causes, trajectory, vicissitudes, context, and politics. The research is premised on the notion that higher levels of industrial development are a good thing and that, to achieve large-scale industrial development, active state involvement is required (in other words, the state must successfully implement industrial policy). In the Namibian case, which has seen only limited industrial development and economic diversification over this time period, the thesis investigates what manufacturing sectors have been able to develop and why, why the Namibian state (both colonial and independent) has largely proved unwilling or unable to pursue industrial policy, and what exceptions there have been to this general rule of ambivalence from the state towards industrial development. To answer these questions, extensive archival research in Namibia, Switzerland, and the UK, data collection and analysis, and nearly one hundred interviews with government officials, leading economic actors, and members of civil society within Namibia were undertaken. There are two central arguments in this thesis concerning the conceptualisation of processes of industrial development. The first is that more attention needs to be paid to understanding the causes of commitment (or lack thereof) to industrial policy implementation from the state. Too often the state is assumed ex ante to be committed to achieving the structural transformation of the economy. The argument here is that this assumption does not hold true in a host of countries across the world. A key question for the thesis, then, is why are some states more 'developmental' than others? The second argument is that, in understanding challenges in industrial policy implementation, more analytical attention needs to be given to understanding power relations between and across countries, rather than just within a given country, as has often been the case in recent political economy works on industrial policy. The position taken here is that the now numerous country case studies of industrial policy do not, for the most part, give sufficient weight to the manner in which efforts towards industrial development can and are thwarted by the actions of other nations and foreign firms. The contribution of this thesis, therefore, is to present the first ever complete overview of industrial development in Namibia from the onset of colonial rule to present day. Moreover, it represents a novel attempt to explore the determinants of the strength of commitment to industrial policy from the state and the way in which international power dynamics affect industrial policy and processes of industrial development. The argument is that the main reason for limited industrial progress in Namibia has been that the country's 'system of accumulation' (the dynamics of power in the country and the interests underpinning it), which has been perpetually created and recreated by domestic and international actors, has never considered structural transformation a priority, and accordingly the state has failed to actively pursue industrial policy. This has been to the detriment of long-term economic progress.
Supervisor: Chang, Ha-Joon Sponsor: Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust ; Smuts Memorial Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Namibia ; Economic development ; Southern Africa ; Industrial policy ; Dependency theory ; Developmental states ; Structural transformation ; Economic history ; Industrial development ; Manufacturing