Friday, February 6, 2009

Third African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics

3 – 17 September 2009
Durban, South Africa

Supported by The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti)
And the French Development Agency (AFD)
With the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)

We are pleased to announce that the 2009 African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) will be held in Durban (South Africa) from the 3rd to the 17th of September. Building on the success of the first two editions of APORDE, in 2007 and 2008, we are seeking applications from talented African, Asian and Latin American
economists, policy makers and civil society activists who, if selected, will be fully funded.

We encourage everyone with an interest in development to read and distribute this call. We also encourage those who feel they meet the criteria specified below to apply: APORDE is a fully-funded programme, so money should not be an issue when considering whether to apply. However, by the same token, entry into this high-level programme will be very competitive and only 26 applicants will be selected.

APORDE is a joint initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry, the French Development Agency and the French Institute of South Africa. Alice Amsden (MIT), Michel Aglietta (Institut Universitaire de France), Ha-Joon Chang (University of Cambridge) and Ben Fine (SOAS) are among the lecturers who will teach on the programme. Nicolas Pons-Vignon (IFAS) is the APORDE Course director and Thandi Phele (The Dti) is the Deputy Course director.

For more information, visit

APORDE is being conducted in a climate when there is much greater contestation of ideas around the possible options for economic development and industrialisation than in many decades. An initiative like APORDE can make a very important contribution in offering us new insights and reflections on the critical questions of building a developmental state and mounting a serious industrial policy.Dr. Rob Davies, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry

While there has been an increased questioning of the neoliberal domination in policy making, the supply of critical and constructive responses remains poor. The situations in most developing countries are particularly preoccupying, since governments and civil societies are weakly equipped to respond critically to external initiatives aimed at their development and to generate endogenous strategies. Due to, among other things, resource constraints, researchers and students from developing countries tend to rely on a small number of standard textbooks and the publications from the multilateral financial institutions, which severely restricts their exposure to alternative approaches. Sub-Saharan Africa is probably most affected by the poor availability of cutting-edge research and teaching in non-orthodox economics. The influence of neoclassical economics in the continent has precluded the exploration of more proactive state involvement to
support economic development and reduce poverty. The tide is, however,
gradually turning: the need for "more" (rather than merely "better",
which in neoliberal terms has proved to mean "less") state
intervention in economic affairs is increasingly recognised.
Crucially, economic take-off appears bound to remain a pipedream if it
is premised on unabated liberalisation rather than developmental trade
and industrial policies. The latter would represent a qualitative leap
in the nature of state intervention, which is currently typically
limited to "creating favourable conditions".

The shortcomings of "populist", or neopopulist, alternatives to the
neoliberal orthodoxy will also be discussed. These alternatives, which
tend to focus on specific issues, for instance the environment or
"extreme poverty", have caught the public's attention and contributed
to the ongoing reformulation of the mainstream development discourse.
One of the most striking examples of the (sometimes combined) failure
of both neoliberal and neopopulist theories is land reform, which will
be discussed in APORDE.

APORDE will allow talented academics, policy makers and civil society
representatives from Africa (and, to a lesser extent, from Asia and
Latin America) to gain access to alternatives to mainstream thinking
on development issues and to be equipped in a way that will foster
original thinking. Participants will receive intensive high-level
training, interact with some of the best development economists in the
world and with other participants. All costs incurred by participants
– travel, accommodation, conference fees and per diem – will be

The seminar will be held in Durban from the 3rd to the 17th of
September 2009. The venue will be confirmed at a later stage.

APORDE will cover essential topics in development economics,
presenting views that are critical of the mainstream. Topics will
include industrial policy, poverty, financial crises and violent
conflict and development. Lectures will equip participants with key
information pertaining to both mainstream and non-mainstream
approaches. Day lectures will last for three and a half hours, while a
number of shorter lectures will also be organised. Several workshops
will be held around overarching themes.

It is necessary that participants demonstrate first-class intellectual
capacity and (at least some) prior knowledge in economics, as well as
proficiency in English. However, the objective of APORDE is to draw
participants from a broad range of backgrounds; persons who have
demonstrated exceptional capacity in their professional lives are
invited to apply.

The main body of participants will be drawn from Africa, but we
welcome applications from Asians and Latin Americans who have research
or work experience related to Africa.

Prospective applicants should send:

- a Curriculum Vitae;
- an official transcript (showing courses taken and grades obtained);
- 2 (two) letters of reference, where possible 1 academic referee and
1 professional, which should be sent directly to aporde@ifas. or
faxed to +27 11 836 5850;
- an essay of no more than 1500 words stating how they would benefit
from APORDE;
- for those whose main medium of instruction or work is not English,
some proof of English proficiency will be necessary. Results of
standard English proficiency tests (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS) will be
preferable, but other proof may also be accepted (e.g., a sample of
written work in English).

Applications, accompanied by a covering letter indicating the
applicant's full contact details (including the e-mail address and
telephone numbers), should be sent to aporde@ifas. to the
attention of Nicolas Pons–Vignon. The application should actually
reach Nicolas Pons-Vignon by Sunday 15 March 2009 at midnight at the
latest. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Please note that individual acknowledgement of applications will be
sent by e-mail only. Candidates will be notified by e-mail of the
outcome of their applications by the end of April 2009.

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