Welcome to the website of the research project “The Developmental State Strikes Back?”


Created by the researchers of the project “The Developmental State Strikes Back?”, supported by the Swiss National Science Fund, this blog brings together political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists and historians working on the return of the developmental state in Africa. Its main ambition is to present the research in progress, as well as to disseminate the work of its members. It also proposes to report the scientific advances on the theme by relaying and commenting the contributions of other research groups. Finally, it provides resources such as online archives, scientific watch and thematic bibliography.

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Two panels this summer!

28-30 June 2018: CA/AC 5th International Conference (Brussels, Belgium)

Title : Infrastructures of power: Chinese investments and dynamics of State reproduction in Africa

Participants: Obert Hodzi (University of Helsinki), Fabien Nkot (University of Yaoundé II), Guive Khan-Mohammad (University of Geneva) and Linda Yin-Nor Tjia (City University of Hong Kong)

9-12 July 2018: Rencontres des études africaines de France (Marseille, France)

Title: Le retour de l’Etat développementaliste en Afrique?


Research Week of the Centre d’études et de recherche en dynamiques administratives et politiques (Yaoundé, 11 – 15 September 2017)

The research week of the Centre d’études et de recherche en dynamiques administratives et politiques, held in the Hotel Merina in Yaoundé, from the 11th to the 15th of September 2017. This week, which closed the first year of the research project “The Developmental State Stikes Back?”, gave the opportunity for Cameroonian, Ivoirian and Swiss teams to meet and to disseminate their first results to academic, development professionals, Cameroonian authorities and general public. Furthermore, visits and interviews were organized on some of the most iconic sites symbolizing the return of “Developmental State” in Cameroun, such as the deep sea port of Kribi.

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European Conference on African Studies (Basel, 29 June – 1st July 2017)


The Developmental State Strikes Back? The Rise of New Global Powers and African States’ Development Strategies

Panel organized by Antoine Kernen, Didier Péclard and Guive Khan-Mohammad

Short abstract
This panel intends to analyze the development strategies of African states in a context marked by the end of the Washington consensus and the diversification of international donors, and in which the state is given again – and takes – a more important role as driver of development.

Long abstract
This panel proposes to study the place and role of African states in the context of a changing development landscape at the global level as well as on the continent. Our reflection builds on two interrelated observations: since the end of the Washington consensus, new paradigms in the field of international development are emerging, whereby the state is given a more important role as driver of development; thanks to unprecedented levels of economic growth and a diversified donor and investor landscape, African states are in a position to increase their room for maneuver and thus able to play a more central role in the definition of their development agendas. In this panel, we therefore intend to put the development strategies of African states at the centre of the analysis, by interrogating how they react to and appropriate changes in development policies at the global level as well as the arrival of new players such as China and other emerging economies on the development scene. Moreover, we  propose to ask whether and to what extent the strategies of African states in this new setting are conducive to long-term changes in terms of social and human development, or whether they tend to reproduce and reinforce long-established power relations and the deepening of social inequalities. We call for communications coming from various social sciences and humanities discipline, but based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Africa.

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