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UNRISD Director Thandika Mkandawire to present at Democratic Developmental State Conference in South Africa

2 Jun 2008



On June 4 near Pretoria, South Africa, UNRISD Director, Thandika Mkandawire, will present a paper titled “From Maladjusted States to Developmental States” at a conference hosted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Development Bank of South African. His lecture will address the issue of state capacity building in Africa and the need for governments across the continent to allow states to assume more than just regulatory roles.

The three-day conference The Potentials for and Challenges of Constructing a Democratic Developmental State in South Africa runs from 4 - 6 June. It refers to the phenomenon of state-led macroeconomic planning that is increasingly receiving attention among South African policy makers, political parties, academics and civil society. Following the experience of successful late-industrializing countries such as those in South-East Asia, it is widespread assumption that South Africa’s developmental challenges of reducing poverty, promoting equality and employment, as well as fostering economic growth, will not be possible without a developmental state that will actively and purposefully intervene in the economy.

Since there is no consensus among South African policy makers and academics on how to achieve such a state, the conference aims to fill this gap and clarify the nature, policy objectives and institutional characteristics of a democratic developmental state.