This chapter examines the emergence of new economic groups in South Africa and Zimbabwe in the context of “paternalistic trusteeship” by governments themselves or by old economic groups managing to retain economic and political influence and aiming to forge stable and mutually profitable relations with new economic elites. New economic actors emerge when political and economic liberalization increases “points of entry” to economic (and political) activity for those previously marginalized or barred from entry. A key point of contention in the debate on the aims and roles of these groups is whether old, entrenched economic groups are simply in the business of “grooming” a new comprador class to serve (or at least not actively oppose) their interests, or if they are indeed making an effort to facilitate empowerment by engaging with and supporting the new economic groups emerging as a result of political and economic liberalization.
Taken together, experiences in these two countries provide a nuanced picture of the opportunities and difficulties governments face when attempting to manage oftentimes cross-cutting pressures from businesses and civil society. The two “case studies” examine interactions between key economic and political actors in each country and their preferences with regard to policies governing economic and sociopolitical transformation. Both economic groups and governments have inevitably become transformed (in terms of policy preferences and strategies) by the many changes sweeping across the region in recent decades.
- comprador capitalism,
- South Africa,
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