Home > Study > Summer schools > LSE-University of Cape Town July School > Courses > LCS-GV201 The State and Development in Africa


LCS-GV201 The State and Development in Africa

Page Contents >

Professor Thandika Mkandawire, Professor of African Development and Head of the African Initiative at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Course outline

The state in Africa experienced its heady expansion after independence, being seen then as the prime agent of nation-building, modernisation and economic development in the 1960s and 1970s, only to find itself vilified as a “lame leviathan”, ” vampire state”, ”clientelistic state”, ”neopatrimonial state”, “rentier-state”, “kleptocratic state”  “swollen state” etc which had overreached its ability to deliver on its promises.

Retrenchment and “reigning in the state” were among some of the solutions proposed to address these problems. This was to be achieved through liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation which were expected to produce a “lean” state that would be supporting of the market. By the mid-1990s there was a realisation of the centrality of the state even for the success of liberalised markets. A new agenda for state reform thus was embarked upon to produce institutions that would support market reforms.

The course will  revisit both the theoretical and empirical views behind the changing positions towards the state in Africa. Special attention will be paid to the many economic, institution and political reforms that have been suggested to “fix” states in Africa. It will also examine some of the new demands for “developmental states” in Africa and the possibilities of such states. It will critically examine some of the institutional reforms that have been introduced in Africa.

Full course outline|

About the instructor


Professor Thandika Mkandawire is Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics and former Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

He was previously Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen and has taught at the Universities of Stockholm and Zimbabwe. He currently holds the Olof Palme Professor for Peace with the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm.

His research interests are mostly in development theory, economic policy and development and social policy in developing countries and political economy of development in Africa.