Applying the Strategic Relational Approach to African States: A Case of Mauritius and Trade Policymaking


The perspective of African states in crisis, together with the examination of African states as neopatrimonial, has been inadequate in providing a useful lens for examining trade policymaking in Africa.

The paper considers African states as structures and the contexts within which political actors formulate socio-economic policies and pursue strategies for political, economic and social development; laying the basis for engagement in the international political economy. It uses Mauritian trade policymaking to highlight that trade policy is a political output decided by human actors in the context of state structures that favour certain actors and strategies, as actors engage in a deliberative and consultative manner. This has created a deliberative democratic developmental state that provides contexts for trade policymaking, which forms the basis for engagement in the international trading system. The paper concludes by drawing lessons from the Mauritian experience relevant to trade policymaking in Africa and our understanding of the engagement of African countries in the international political economy.

14 May 2013