This project is a history and politics of development. It explores how developmentalism has evolved as a hegemonic discourse of rule and ethos of the state in Ethiopia. I will explore how the developmental state works and organizes itself. What are the changes and continuity in African developmentalism? I will use the discourse of Great Renaissance Dam construction over Nile as an entry to understand the nature of the developmental state, in addition to methods such as ethnography of the state, archival work, document analysis and conceptual history. The conceptual history will be conducted taking three Amharic notions: silitane, zemena and limat /civilization, modernization and development/. It engages the hitherto neglected history of development as effect local –global interaction. The research is a critique to Euro and Afro-centrist binary in the study of the state and development in Africa but I will contextualize my interpretation with existing discourse to keep its validity.