Botswana: A Development-Oriented Gate-Keeping state – A Reply to Ian Taylor
Due to a combination of exceptional economic growth and social development, Botswana has been hailed as an African developmental state. This article rejects the developmental state theory and instead attempts to build an alternative theoretical model. It argues that from the 1930s until the present, Botswana has experienced a state structure characterized by natural resource dependency, lack of economic diversification, a dual society, selective social development and a close connection between the economic and political elite. In the tentative theoretical model presented and discussed here, these are all defining traits of a gate-keeping state. It is hence argued that while Botswana's socio-economic development since independence should in no way be underestimated, it is better understood as the efforts of a development-oriented gate-keeping state rather than a developmental state.