The Origin of Extractive States in Africa: The Case of the British Cape Colony, 1834-1909

Working paper 783
Author(s): 
Abel Gwaindepi and Johan Fourie
Publication date: 
May, 2019
Classification-JEL: 

The majority of African states continue to be regarded as extractive states. We use the Cape Colony's public expenditure to account for the emergence of extractive states in Africa. With a sub-imperial role for Southern African colonial expansion, the Cape Colony became a template for extractive practices that continue to characterize the region. Using public expenditure data, budget debates and existing historiography, we trace the elite competition for limited public resources that associated the Cape's transition from an agrarian society to a mining-led economy.

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