This panel reflects on the renewed interest for models of state-led development planning and policies in Africa. Rather than focusing on the models themselves and their transferability, it takes as an entry point the variegated ways in which African states and governments appropriate them.
Over the past decades, one of the major "disruptions" in the field of development in Africa has been the entry into the fray of purportedly "new" international players such as China, followed by Brazil, India, Japan and others. This has created new opportunities of investments for African governments, especially for large infrastructure projects that had remained on hold during the structural adjustment decades. But this also contributed to a paradigm shift in the development rhetoric of the IFIs and traditional Western donors of the post-Washington consensus era, away from the monolithic neo-liberal "catechism" of the "minimal state" approach that was preached throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It also opened up the "market" for development models, thereby paving the way for a renewed interest for state-interventionist development policies and state-led development planning.
This panel proposes to focus on these "new" development models. But, while research has tended to look at the models themselves and their "transferability" (as in the literature on policy transfers or, more recently, on "travelling models"), we propose to take as an entry point the ways in which African states and governments have appropriated them, played with them and combined them with others. In particular, papers should concentrate (1) on the elaboration of development plans and the flurry of strategies for Africa's "rise" (émergence), (2) on African development cadres, their biographies, for instance on the growing number of them who are trained at Chinese universities, and (3) on how this relates to strategies of power in African states.