2022 Thandika Mkandawire Memorial
Lecture & Roundtable Panel Discussion
Theme: The feasibility of the developmental state project in Africa
10 October 1940 – 27 March 2020
Professor Thandika Mkandawire was born on 10 October 1940 in Gwanda, present-day Zimbabwe. He passed away on 27 March 2020 at a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. The annual memorial lecture was established in 2021 to honour and celebrate the works and memory of Professor Mkandawire. The memorial lecture is an initiative of the South African Research Chair in Social Policy, in partnership with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).
At various times, Professor Mkandawire served as the Executive Secretary of CODESRIA (1986 – 1996) and the Director of UNRISD (1998 – 2009). In 2010 he was appointed the first Chair of African Development at the London School of Economics and served in that capacity until his passing in 2020. Professor Mkandawire received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (both in Economics) from the Ohio State University, a Master of Science degree in Economics from Stockholm University, and a Senior Doctorate in Development Studies from Rhodes University in South Africa.
Professor Mkandawire was a prodigious and brilliant mind who made outstanding contributions to our understanding in the fields of Economics, Social Policy, Political Sociology, and Development Studies. His seminal contributions to the debates on democracy and the developmental state, economic restructuring, state/society nexus, and the idea of Transformative Social Policy shifted our understanding in these areas of knowledge and policymaking. Africa, for Professor Mkandawire, was the permanent locus of engagement with the rest of the world.
Professor Mkandawire was as adept in institution building as he was at generating seminal ideas. His periods as heads of CODESRIA and UNRISD fundamentally impacted the institutions. Added to his proficiency in seminal knowledge production and institution building is Professor Mkandawire’s role as a mentor and inspiration for innumerable younger colleagues. Professor Mkandawire was an Mwalimu per excellence.
The annual memorial lecture is intended to honour the memory of Professor Mkandawire and valorise his many intellectual contributions.
The Memorial Lecture
Professor Fiona Tregenna
The topic of the lecture: “Can Africa run? Industrialisation and development in Africa”
Professor Fiona Tregenna holds the DSI/NRF South African Research Chair in Industrial Development, heading this centre of research, training, and public engagement. She is also a Professor of Economics at the University of Johannesburg. Her research focuses on issues of structural change, industrialisation and deindustrialisation, and innovation and technological upgrading. She has published widely in leading journals, received awards and grants for her research, led large research projects, co-edited several books, and serves on the editorial boards of various international journals and book series. She sits on many panels, boards and councils, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Advisory Council advising on trade and industrial development across Africa, and advising South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on economic policy as a member of his Presidential Economic Advisory Council. Fiona has advised international organisations such as UNIDO, UNCTAD, the United Nations University and the ILO, and has contributed to a number of flagship United Nations reports. She has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cambridge.
Roundtable Panel Discussion
Theme: The Feasibility of the Developmental State in Africa
Dr Grieve Chelwa
“The ‘Impossibility Argument’ and the Developmental State in 21st Century Africa.”
Dr Grieve Chelwa is a Zambian economist with research interests centring on African Development and Political Economy more broadly. He currently serves as the Director of Research at The Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy at The New School. He’s previously held academic positions at The University of Cape Town and at Harvard University, where he was the Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow at The Center for African Studies. Dr Chelwa is a frequent commentator and blogger, and some of his writings and opinions have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Business Day, BBC, Lusaka Times, Bloomberg, and Mail & Guardian, among others.
“Agriculture in Africa’s Development Planning”
Akua Opokua Britwum is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Gender Research, Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD) at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Her publications cover gender-based violence, gender and economic participation, trade union democracy, and labour force organisation in the informal economy.
Prof Akua Opokua Britwum
Dreams of Green Hydrogen
Prof Daniela Gabor
Daniela Gabor is a Professor of Economics and Macrofinance at UWE Bristol. She studies financial globalisation, money, and decarbonisation from a critical macrofinance perspective.
Ndongo Samba Sylla is a Senegalese development economist. He works as a Senior Program and Research Manager at the West Africa Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He co-authored “Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: the CFA Franc Story” (Pluto Press 2021)
Dr Ndongo Samba Sylla
What does the Ethiopian experiment of developmentalism mean for Mkandawire’s model of an African Developmental State? Lessons and critical reflections.
Dr Eyob Balcha Gebremariam is the recipient of the 2022 Thandika Mkandawire Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in African Political Economy and Economic Development. He is a Research Associate at the Perivoli Africa Research Centre, University of Bristol and an Adjunct Professor of African Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, in Bologna, Italy. He received a doctoral degree in Development Policy and Management from the University of Manchester, UK. He taught African Political Economy and African Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2017- 2021). He also held a Matasa Fellowship position at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK (2016/17). His research areas include African political economy, the politics of development, the politics of knowledge production in Africa (decolonial perspectives), young people’s engagement in politics and youth (un)employment.