Economic Dualism in Zimbabwe: From Colonial Rhodesia to Post-Independence, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Economic Dualism in Zimbabwe

From Colonial Rhodesia to Post-Independence, 1st Edition

By Daniel B. Ndlela


212 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-05-09
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This book identifies the root causes of income inequality in underdeveloped economies and proposes new solutions for structural reform in economies that have long neglected and exploited working people. It focuses on the case of Zimbabwe, a classic example of an African post-colonial state continuing with dualistic economic structures while simultaneously laying the blame for the initiation of this form of underdevelopment with colonialism. The book explores the colonial roots of economic dualism, in which traditional sectors run alongside newer forms of wage employment, and suggests ways for Zimbabwe to move beyond the ingrained inequalities and asymmetries in production and organisation that it generates.

Using a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches, Economic Dualism in Zimbabwe demonstrates how economic dualism can be eliminated through structural transformation of the traditional agricultural sector and reallocation of labour across sectors. The author comprehensively discusses the origins of dualism in Zimbabwe, how it developed in land, labour, credit and financial markets, who stands to gain and lose from it, and ultimately what reforms are needed to eliminate dualism from the economic system. The book aims to complement efforts made by both North and South to transform this structurally embedded cause of underdevelopment and seeks to motivate change in the collective development agenda mindset.

This book will be of interest to graduate-level students, scholars, researchers and policy practitioners in the fields of Development Studies, Economics, Agricultural Policy, Labour Policy, Economic Planning and African Studies.


"This book provides refreshing reading about the intricacies of economic dualism, a pattern observed in most Southern African countries. Based on his expert knowledge of labour markets Daniel Ndlela offers new insights on how to envisage structural transformation under such difficult circumstances. By addressing the land question from a class perspective, he also adds to the debate of the historical and sociological dimensions of current ownership tensions, allowing convincing comparisons with similar realities in other parts of the world."Carlos Lopes, Professor, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town; 8th Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa (2012-2016)

"Economic Dualism in Zimbabwe provides useful insights into the often-ignored and understudied historical complexities of political economies in post-independent African states. The dualistic nature of the economy of Zimbabwe as well as that of its neighbouring country, South Africa, is not accidental. Nevertheless, the author aptly and persuasively argues that while economic dualism was a colonial design, the post-independent African state embraced and continued with the colonial dualistic structures as the ‘new normal, while loudly blaming colonialism and imperialism for having planted and perpetrated this form of underdevelopment’. Zimbabwe is presented as a classical case but the same blame game is observable in other post-independent African states. Therefore, the book is a must read for scholars and policymakers wishing to have an informed understanding of the trajectory of post-independent political economies such as Zimbabwe and South Africa, in particular."Daniel Makina, Professor, University of South Africa

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Origins of Dualism in Zimbabwe

3. Land Tenure and Economic Dualism

4. Dualism in Agricultural Credit and Produce Markets

5. Economic Dualism in the Labour Market

6. The Theory of Economic Dualism

7. Dualism Theory Revisited

8. The Consequences of Economic Dualism

9. Destroying Dualism

10. Conclusions

About the Author

Daniel B. Ndlela is a Lead Researcher and Team Leader with Zimconsult, Zimbabwe, formerly taught economics at the University of Zimbabwe, and was Senior Regional Adviser on economic co-operation and integration for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in African Development

The series features innovative and original research on African development from scholars both within and outside of Africa. It particularly promotes comparative and interdisciplinary research targeted at a global readership.

In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The series welcomes submissions from established and junior authors on cutting-edge and high-level research on key topics that feature in global news and public debate. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Helena Hurd ([email protected]).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries