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UNRISD Director to present a paper at the Africa Task Force Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 10

7 Jul 2008



UNRISD Director Thandika Mkandawire will participate in Columbia University’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue Africa Task Force Meeting in Addis Ababa on July 10 and 11 at the Ethiopia Development Research Institute.

Thandika will present a paper entitled “Institutional Monocropping and Monotasking in Africa” on July 10. In this paper, he argues that, while the current upsurge of interest in institutions is welcome, the form that it has taken has not always been so positive. His focus is on the tendencies toward “institutional monocropping”, which refers to reforms based on a “one-size-fits-all” policy perspective, and “institutional monotasking”, which reduces institutions to merely serving a particular set of policies and tasks. Thandika argues that these dynamics have weakened the capacity of institutions to incorporate lessons from a range of experiences or adapt to local contexts. He cautions that this will produce institutions unable to enact the flexible, engaged strategies that support the stable, democratic and inclusive social orders that have proved largely elusive in Africa.

Thandika`s presentation will be part of a two-day meeting of the Africa Task Force, which was established in 2006 in response to the special challenges facing economic development and poverty in Africa. Because many of the policies that have been implemented in Africa have failed, and in light of the growing recognition of the limitations of these reforms, the Task Force aims to help formulate new approaches and alternative policy options for the region.