Urban Bias, Economic Resource Allocation and National Development Planning in Botswana

Latang Sechele


Michael Lipton formulated a theory of urban bias to account for the poverty and inequalities that rack many developing countries today. The theory proposes that development planning in less developed countries is biased against rural areas in that most of the economic resources are allocated to the urban areas than the rural ones making the poor to get poorer. This article seeks to apply the theory to Botswana’s development planning process. Data was obtained from the analysis of the first nine out of the ten national development plans published since independence which clearly show a distinction in economic resource allocations between rural and urban areas. The findings support the urban bias thesis and suggest its retention in studies of economic development with modifications to incorporate elite bias to account for intra-rural and intra-urban social inequalities. It also proposes diversification into non-agricultural activities as a strategy for rural development in drought prone contexts.

Keywords: urban bias, resource allocation, development planning, poverty, inequality

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijssr.v4i1.8536


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