Welche Rolle soll der Staat in der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit spielen und wann wird er zu einem Entwicklungshemmnis? Welche Haltung sollte die DEZA ordnungspolitisch einnehmen?
Which role should the State play in development cooperation and when does the State become a constraint for development? What position should SDC take when it comes to the role of the State?
Why are some countries so rich and other countries so poor? At the dawn of the twenty-first century, a definitive answer to the fundamental question since the days of Adam Smith re- mains as elusive as ever. At the same time, never before has the question been more relevant. Indeed, a defining feature of the contemporary world economy is the dramatic inequality be-tween countries. The economic divergence started with the industrial revolution in the 18th century, as Western Europe and the United States succeeded in breaking the shackles of poverty and economic stagnation and in achieving global economic dominance. Outside the Western world, Japan is the only country that has reached similar stages of economic development and prosperity. Instead, many Asian and Latin American countries, although they have taken off and grown faster during the twentieth century, are yet to catch up with rich countries. Africa – in particular the Sub-Saharan region – appears to be mired in poverty.
At the beginning of the new millennium, this pattern of international inequality re- mains largely unchanged. If anything, the divide between rich and poor countries seems to be inexorably widening. The major implication of this trend is that low-income countries will continue to depend on aid and assistance from the rich world for a long time to come. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been unprecedented attempts by Western governments to rapidly develop poor countries. In particular, greater focus was placed on the African continent. A 2000 UN Summit agreed upon the ambitious and wide-ranging “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs). In January 2005, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called at the World Economic Forum in Davos for “a big, big push forward” – financed by an increase in foreign aid – to end poverty in Africa. In February 2005, the international community endorsed the Paris Declaration with a view to make aid more effective. In July 2005, an important outcome of the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, was the decision to double foreign aid to Africa, from $25 billion a year to $50 billion to finance the “big push”. In addition, global campaigns such as Make Poverty History have contributed to putting the cause of ending poverty at the top of the agenda of the international community.
In view of the increased attention given to foreign aid in the fight against poverty, the following question becomes particularly relevant: which role should the state in recipient countries play in the development process? Traditionally, much of foreign aid has been given by states in the North to states in the South. It follows that increases in foreign aid would di- rectly affect the state in recipient countries. Over the last few years, there has been a growing consensus among donor countries that a functioning and effective state in recipient countries would make an important contribution to development efforts. This change in thinking amounts to a momentous paradigm shift. The role of the state in promoting development, however, remains a much-neglected topic in the literature. Scholars, policy-makers and practitioners are yet to develop a rich body of work on this issue-area. Moreover, a comprehensive assessment is largely absent in the existing literature, which often tends to give an uncritical view of the state. More attention and research on this subject are thus urgently required, not least because the newly favourable view on the role of the state has far-reaching implications for practice. The issue has become especially crucial in the aftermath since developing countries have been assigned the responsibility to implement their own development strategies and to exercise leadership over the management of foreign aid.
This paper attempts to shed light upon the role of the state in the development process in four Sub-Saharan African countries that are historically and geographically close to each other: Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda. The main research question is whether the state acts as a catalyst for or as an obstacle to development. Our hypothesis is that while the mere size of the state is not per se an impediment, the state may impair development if its institutions and policies are plagued by “bad governance”. In order to test this hypothesis, we need to find indicators that stress the correlation between development and the state – that is, both the “quality” of state governance and the “size” of the state. The primary focus is on indicators measuring the “quality” of state governance (e.g. “Governance Matters” indicators published by the World Bank) as well as on indicators related to the “size” of the state (public expenditures, number of employees in the public sector, “ease of doing business” indicators measuring the quality of the regulatory environment). Socio-economic indicators – in particular the Human Development Index (HDI) – are also taken into account, for they provide a good overview of the development stage in the four countries under consideration.