Book: PM Meles Zenawi writes on ‘States and Markets’

Jan 15 2012

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi wrote a scholarly article titled ‘States and Markets: Neoliberal Limitations and the Case for a Developmental State’.Good Growth and Governance in Africa (including Meles Zenawi's article on Neoliberalism and Developmental state)

The article is published in a book titled ‘Good Growth and Governance in Africa: Rethinking Development Strategies’. The book consists articles written by various experts in the field of economics and development, edited by the renowned economist Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz together with Akbar Noman, Kwesi Botchwey, and Howard Stein. Initiative for Policy Dialogue of Columbia University is the publisher of the book.

The book is said to be an outcome of the deliberation of a diverse group of experts on development convened by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue. The book’s description states that:

This volume reflects the highlights of [the] deliberations. It broadens the policy debate, expands the policy options, and proposes alternative development strategies. This book captures the lively, and sometimes contentious, debate, and provides a note of optimism for the future. Though success is not assured, this volume argues that there is good reason to believe that policies based on lessons of successes, notably in East Asia, can be adapted successfully in African contexts.

Meles Zenawi’s piece is found in ‘Part II: Governance, Institutions and the State’ of the book, under the heading ‘States and Markets: Neoliberal Limitations and the Case for a Developmental State’, (page 140-175).

The book will be released on March 1, 2012, according to However, Google Books is displaying some pages from the book as a preview.

The first 7 pages of Meles Zenawi’s article, which are visible on Google-books, present a theoretical criticism of the neo-liberal paradigm prescriptions regarding the role of the state in the economy.

Meles Zenawi begins his article stating that:

The political and economic renaissance of Africa is an issue that continues to preoccupy Africans and non-Africans alike. Various methods of achieving such a renaissance have been proposed, mostly variations of the dominant neoliberal paradigm of development. My argument elaborated elsewhere is that the neo-liberal paradigm is a dead end incapable of bringing about the African renaissance, and that a fundamental shift in paradigm is required to effect a revival. In this paper, the focus is on the theoretical or conceptual limitations of the neo-liberal paradigm and the need for African states to move towards becoming developmental.

It is to be recalled that in a panel convened Initiative for Policy Dialogue in 2006, Meles Zenawi presented a 51-page draft paper, titled ‘African Development Dead Ends and New Beginnings’ that argues the need for replacing the neo-liberal paradigm with a developmental state paradigm in Africa.

* You may see the description of the book at: (link) , Oxford University Press (link)

* You may read parts of the book at Google Books (link).

[Download here – ‘African Development Dead Ends and New Beginnings’ – (link).]



  1. Tolcha

    I think it is the right time to deliberate now to shape the direction of our beloved country. In my view it is good to leave the issues of the MP to be judged by history. However, what I want to argue is that Ethiopia may be growing and some are benefiting from this growth. The point is the growth benefit should be trickle down to the majority and it should not be screamed by some. Most people argue from their personal gain or loss perspective, if they are from the side of the gainer they argue in favor of the regime and if they are loser they are arguing against. This may be right from short term angle. However, to create a just society and system we should think that all Ethiopian should be equally share the fruit of our country. When I rate Meles from this side he failed. He created haven to some and hell to the majority. Let us be realistic and see what really Ethiopia look like.

    It is a country where the productive labour is queuing to get passport to migrate for death and misery. It is country where the majority of people are unable to eat one in a day. It is country where people are imprisoned for the very reason the they expressed their view, It is country where people are promoted because of their blood and tribe and merit based success is totally forgotten. It is country where movement within the country is prohibited because of the political structure and ethic federalism. It is country where people are allowed to corrupt as far as they support the ruling Party. we can list so many reason why we are not appreciating this man. We are saying whatever growth happening in Ethiopia is not benefiting us. We are suffered due to inflation as the corrupt are damping money in the market.

    Our Vision to Ethiopia is to see each one of us equally benefit from our country wealth. We want to have equal power and level of participation in matters which affect our country. We want people to have free mobility to each and every corner of Ethiopia and make a living and create wealth and property. We want to end corruption and we want success is based on merit. We want to see a leader who is rated by his deed not in comparisons with regime before him. We want the rule of law is respected and everybody is accountable.

    1. Dawit

      Tolcha, I don’t want to disagree with you 100% but I would like to give you few clues that the leadership of Meles Zenawi favored exactly what you wished and still do hopefully. Had it not been the case, Ethio Telecom would have been given away to foreign service providers long time ago. Mechanized foreign farms would have invaded the largest part of our farming community in Ethiopia. The millenium dam is ours (80 m Ethiopians) and more major projects are underway at the moment and these are what will reduce poverty in our beloved nation. The basic needs have been well addressed so far and we still hope for more. There are no wealthy Ethiopians maybe rich I understand. So Meles is not to blame for all the painful hardship we are going through. History is to blame for our poverty and that goes way back to the era of feudalism and communism at its worse ( it never existed anyway even under Mengistu ) before EPRDF finally took over.

  2. LeahS

    Meles’ own wife is the leader of a conglomerate that is massive enough to distort the economic picture of Ethiopia. If we made any progress it is despite the ruling regime, not because of it. Derg and TPLF/EPLF dragged us through war for decades costing billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of human lives. We were 10billion dollars in debt by the time that war ended. This is real. Even the current regime destroyed so many factories, bridges, generators with their original dream of separating Tigrai from Ethiopia. We can’t be asked to forget all this. Their consistency is shown within the span of 20 years. They are the same. Only when the regime steps down can I ever give it some credit. Otherwise it is just the same old story.
    Those with short memory go back and read history. Neither Derg, nor TPLF nor EPLF were the answers to the problems.They sure as heck aren’t now.

  3. zemenu

    I have been searching for this book.Thank you dan .you have shown me where I get it.However, what is most surprising for me is that it becames difficult to observe solutions for the so called <>in most comments .I belive that successe is the result of big problems.Let us strive for solutions taking the current changes as stepping stone.Who can struggle corruption in Ethiopia? I think that is an Ethiopian.But corupption which is the problem of some irresponsible persons must not disperate the majority becouse there is a chance/law to struggle it.

  4. Dagi

    …for how long is hate politics blinding some of our fellow country men and women??? We must be proud of this man.Meles did not proclaimed him self as an African development guru.People,rational ones ,not those who are blinded by hate have come to accept that he is a person of high caliber and tangible results.NIKU,NIKU,AYNACHIHUN GILETU!!!!!Ethiopia is rising with Meles and The EPRDF.

    1. Dawit

      Dagi,it’snot about hate politics?!!…Do you think such fellow citizens know about politics ? I don’t ! I guess it’s just their opinion in the first place. These for me are simple ethnic mongers. All they care about is EPRDF and Meles, a leader from the north. So what ? I am not sure how old they are but all I can assume is they are not even ready to accept a leader from Gambella, Ethiopia as a potential PM of Ethiopia. Blind hate based on ethnic background is what i think is at stake but not about the way Ethiopia is developing at this moment of time. Their denial will have no impact of the majority of us. Such negative mentalities should perhaps be born again so their parents get a second chance to raise them properly one last time. lool !

    2. revolutionary

      Well, do NOT be blinded with this growth. Sure, under Meles and his party, the country is taking steps to become a stable and prosperous economy. But let’s not forget what his friends are doing to the country, depriving people of basic social rights and enriching themselves just because of their special ties with government officials. Ethiopia, right now, is a country where one gets rich ONLY because of one’s relationships with local/federal powers, and not with one’s ability or business ‘saviness’. Ethiopians are losing their famed values and culture to capitalism and becoming more corrupt, rather than hard-working, hones individuals that we aspire them to be. Meles and his regime, i believe, are economically illiterate, and seem to just copy and paste the European model for civilization. They need to use their brains in how to come up with a good strategy that suits our values and tradition. China is a rich country, but they no more have their social standards as they used to. They have all become money-loving backstabbers. Money isn’t everything. Remember that. There are far more important things above money, even though it is the most important thing to have on earth. Peace.

      1. liya

        i hope you are ethiopian and understand what i’m going to say in my language, እውነት ኣንተ ሪቮለሺኔሪ ነህ? ኣይመስለኝም ለማንኛውም ታነባለህሳ? ኣልመሰለኝም ምክንያቱም ብታነብ ኣገራችን የምትከተለው ፓሊሲ ከ ምዕራባውያን የተቀዳ እንዳልሆነና ያገራችንን ሁኔታ ማእከል ያደረገ እንደሆነ ይገባህ ነበር, ኣንተ ማነህ የኢኮኖሚክስ ሊቁን ዓለም የመሰከረለትን ሰው ኢኮኖሚክስ ያልተማረ የማያውቅ የምትለው, አረ ጎበዝ ኣፋችንን ዝም ብለን ባንከፍት መልካም ይመስለኛል:: ኣንድ ነገር ልጨምር ኣገራችን ሙስናና የተያያዙ ነገሮች በጣም እንደቀነሱ የተፃፉ ፅሑፎችንን ኣላነበብክም, ዳሩ ማንበብ የምትወድ ኣልመሰለኝም:: ለማንኛውም ጌታ ኣእምሮህን ይክፈትልህ.

  5. Tarik

    One thing is to have an active state in the economy, quite another is to have a ruling party with a commercial empire. The former is indeed a fair paradigm, the latter is plain institutional corruption. What Meles is doing is simply rationalising his own regime’s suppression of wealth-creating competition.

    1. Getch

      lets just look at the changes that are existing in our country, I think nothing can justify other that the real growth. Look at the Universities, Schools, Hospitals, the Road, Hydro power, mechanized agriculture, farmer cash and market oriented productivity where we have now millioner farmers, peace and equity among nations and nationalities.
      Hmmmmmmmmmmm I think this shows how our prime minister is leading the nation, Obviously we are in a time where a high inflation job losses and economic crisis is staggering the world while we are still heading with annual growth rate of 10 % (>11%) for that matter. Is this failure in leadership?
      Lets stop denying what is happening in from of our eyes. I have no words as to how brilliant leader this nation have. I can confidently say Meles is an Ethiopian best leader in centuries and centuries to come.
      Lets not collect dead politics in this new era. What ever the drive is we should start telling facts. Meles is a real Ethiopian leader. His reputation and strategic thinking has managed to make the dreams of Ethiopians a reality! had any one of us thought of the Great renaissance dam? Is it not Meles who have managed to bring the Axum obelisk back home. is it no Meles who have challenged any western influence in our national politics?
      Oh God may god open some blind haters and wake them up to stand by our noble leader!