Working Paper
Relevance of the Nordic Model for African Development

Can African countries learn from the development experiences of other regions? Or are the continent’s development challenges unique? This paper looks at the development experience of the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, from the nineteenth century and discusses the extent to which the observed patterns of development could have relevance for Africa. The paper argues that poverty is not immutable. Nordic countries were for centuries a poor agrarian outpost at the European periphery and yet via the development of institutions, establishment of a culture of political inclusion and social compassion have managed to raise the welfare of their population to among the highest in the world. The paper also argues that the ability to develop internal capacities for administration as well as institutional flexibility have been crucial for Nordic prosperity.