State-business relations and economic transition in the modern world-system
: A comparative study of South Africa and Zimbabwe

  • Sinan Baran

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines state-business relations (SBRs) in semi-peripheral South Africa and peripheral Zimbabwe following each country’s transition to majority rule. This study offers an explanation for why SBRs are likely to either consolidate or fracture in post-transition communities over time through a comparative case study of the mining industries in each country. A considerable literature has grown up around the theme of the SBRs in South Africa and Zimbabwe. However, a comparison of SBRs regarding the mining industry from the MWS perspective in South Africa and Zimbabwe has not yet been attempted. This study explores the policy choices related to the mining industries in the two countries in order to examine the nature of and reasons for different trajectories in terms of SBRs.

This study aims to understand why states in developing regions become more or less fragile in the context of transition. The two majority governments in Harare and Pretoria have needed to deal with deep unresolved post-transition divisions relating to race, inequality and under-development. This study examines the implementation of liberalisation and indigenisation policies by the majority governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe in order to complete the economic transformation.

The findings suggest that semi-peripheral countries are less fragile than peripheral countries in terms of being susceptible to pressures from domestic and external powers and to shifts in policy choices during periods of economic transformation. China, as a foreign power, has developed bilateral relations with Zimbabwe for gaining access to natural resources. Conversely, China’s bilateral relationship with South Africa has not been shaped only by the demand for natural resources but also by political partnerships with BRICS and more sophisticated economic relations. The findings suggest that China’s significant political and economic presence in a peripheral country has more effect on SBRs than in a semi-peripheral country.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsTurkish Ministry of National Education
SupervisorStefan Andreasson (Supervisor) & Andrew Thomson (Supervisor)


  • State-Business Relations
  • South Africa
  • Zimababwe
  • African Studies
  • International Political Economy
  • Modern World-System
  • Economic Transformation

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