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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



2022 Thandika Mkandawire Memorial Lecture & Roundtable Panel Discussion

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.

This event will be virtual on the zoom platform

User Guide

How to join?

To join the Memorial, please open the email sent to you, titled “2022 Thandika Mkandawire Memorial Lecture & Roundtable Panel Discussionor one of the other “Reminder” emails. Then click on the button titled “Join Webinar“. If you are asked for a code, enter the “Passcode” found in the same email.

Use the chat box to chat with the host (the organizer) or with a staff member or even with everyone. However, it requires vigilance when entering the conversation box, please choose the recipient carefully, otherwise you risk sharing with others what was intended only for one person.

However, you can use the link below for more information on how the Zoom application works: https://support.zoom.us/hc/fr/articles/115004954946-Joining-and-participating-in-a-webinar-attendee-


  • Please, and importantly, make sure you observe a high degree of self-discipline (attend the memorial from an appropriate location: small & furnished) room NOT car, equipment ((quality) headset with in-built mike, attitude (turning head away to read from another device or stretching for ease not muting the mic when you are not speaking, etc…).
  • The day of the event, you need to log in 15 to 30 minutes before start-up to make sure everything is working well.
  • Avoid speaking at the same time.
  • It is recommended to have a headset with a built-in microphone.
  • Speak directly into the microphone if you do not have a headset with a built-in microphone. This is to facilitate better sound especially for the interpreters.
  • Raise your hand if you want to speak by clicking on the “Reaction” button and then on the icon.
  • Choose your preferred channel (or language) by clicking on the globe (Interpretation) at the bottom of the window.
  • If you have any connection problems, try disconnecting and reconnecting at any time.
  • To avoid having two sounds, that of the interpreter and that of the speaker, do not forget to turn off the original.
  • Always mute your microphone after speaking.
  • Sometimes the room is a problem. E.g., When you are in a large empty room or with basic furniture, there will be an echo problem

Draft Programme

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 Department of Labour and Human Resource Studies, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Her teaching, research and publication cover gender and labour studies, development philosophy, union democracy, as well as women in the informal economy.

Her most recent publication is: Britwum, A. O. (2022). Post-independence development planning in Ghana and Tanzania: Agriculture, women and Nation-building. Africa Development, XLVII (1), 105-134.

Prof Akua Opokua Britwum

Dreams of Green Hydrogen

Prof Daniela Gabor

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

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.

Dr Eyob Balcha Gebremariam

Dr Eyob Balcha Gebremariam

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