The view of a crisis of the nation-state in Africa has culminated into a number of emerging solutions most of which do not adequately address the relationship between political actors and the state. Central to the examination of African states is the wide usage of the concept of neo-patrimonial state – a concept criticised for inadequately explaining African states. This paper seeks to reconceptualise the existence of African states as structures – that is the contexts within which political actors formulate socio-economic policies and pursue strategies for economic and social development; laying the basis for engagement in the international political economy. Giving an example of Mauritian trade policy-making, the paper argues that trade policy is a political output decided by human actors in the context of state structures that favour certain actors as they engage in a deliberative and consultative manner. The author also argues that this has created a ‘deliberative democratic developmental state’ that retains the sovereignty to provide contexts for trade making-policy that forms the basis for engagement in the international trade system.
Key words: Mauritius, strategic relational approach, African state, neo-patrimonial, deliberative democratic developmental state, trade policy-making.
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