13 September 2016
We hosted Prof. Thandika Mkandawire for an evening seminar, jointly with the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE). The seminar was well attended, with more than 80 participants, and a lively debate following the talk. With his longstanding and distinguished career as an academic and policy-maker in Economic Development, Prof. Mkandawire attracted a very varied audience, including APORDE participants, students in the MPhil Industrial Policy, academics and policymakers. As an academic, Prof. Mkandawire was the first person taking the Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he currently teaches; he was Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen; he taught at the Universities of Stockholm and Zimbabwe, and held the Olof Palme Professorship for Peace with the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm. In addition, he was the former Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), and Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). As a contribution to the APORDE Programme and in line with the research focus of the SARChI programme, his seminar engaged with the question of ‘Social Policy and its Linkages with Industrial Policy’. In his thought-provoking talk, he discussed the need for social policy within late industrialisers, highlighting its developmental and transformative potential, in contrast with the mainstream view that sees social policy only as a financial burden or unnecessary cost. In particular, adopting a comprehensive definition of social policy, he presented it not only as a redistributive and protective tool, but also as a channel for human capital formation, innovation and technological development.