Colonial Policies and the Cattle Economy, c. 1930–1975

  • Ellen Hillbom
  • Jutta Bolt
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


Hillbom and Bolt challenge the common view that Botswana experienced only limited colonial influence. They argue that the later colonial period from 1930 onwards instead has had significant long-term impact on the economic structures of Bechuanaland and later independent Botswana. They explain how the 1930s saw the development of a so-called gate-keeping state characterized by financial constraints restricting its development strategies forcing it to focus its limited tax capacity on controlling its borders. They conduct an in-depth investigation analysing how this led to colonial efforts to establish a cattle export sector resulting in an economy characterized by natural resource dependency and struggling with diversification and equity. Finally, with the Tswana cattle-holding elite taking over after independence, political and economic continuity cemented existing structures.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Hillbom
    • 1
  • Jutta Bolt
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of LundLundSweden
  2. 2.Lund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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