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From Maladjusted States to Developmental States - UNRISD Director Thandika Mkandawire Speaking at the I.S. (International Cooperation) Academy Seminar Series, April 22, The Hague

16 Apr 2008



UNRISD Director, Thandika Mkandawire, will be speaking at the I.S. (International Cooperation) Academy Seminar Series at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 22 from 12:00-14:00 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Under the title “From Maladjusted States to Developmental States”, his seminar 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.

During close to three decades of economic reform, downsizing of public institutions has resulted in Africa becoming the least governed continent, as measured by the number of public employees per 100 citizens. The reform has involved “mono-cropping” which involves transplants of a “one size fits all” institutions. It has also involved “mono-tasking” which reduces the role of institutions to performing narrow objectives. And finally, it has involved limiting the choices of elected governments by ring-fencing a number of institutions and policies to keep them away from oversight by parliamentary institutions.

By comparison, all successful “late industrializers” have had states that have assumed more than just regulatory roles. They have stimulated private actors, taken up entrepreneurial roles, coordinated economic activities, etc. African countries will have to find institutions that can play functionally equivalent roles.

The I.S. Academy is a joint research program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a range of academic institutions in the Netherlands. The African Studies Centre in Leiden and the Africa Department of the Ministry have jointly embarked on a research program entitled “The African State: Façade and Reality”. This seminar is part of an annual series of five seminars in this research program.

To register for the seminar, please visit the African Studies Centre website.