R13m for developmental state research

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pretoria - The Kingdom of the Netherlands has donated R13 million to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) for a two-year research and policy initiative.

The donation will assist in generating knowledge to help South Africa develop a democratic developmental state.

The initiative will be the first of its kind by a South African research institution.

Chief Executive Officer of the HSRC, Dr Olive Shisana said: "We are pleased that the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has agreed to fund the HSRC to undertake this research, which aims to further the debate and inform policy through research."

Shisana said the initiative aims to address the country's developmental challenges, including achieving equality, reducing poverty and unemployment, as well as growing the economy and building a knowledge-based economy.
Netherlands Ambassador to South Africa Rob de Vos said his government had observed with keen interest the South African government's growing commitment to establishing a democratic developmental state.

"We believe that the timing of the project could not have been better. The issues that will be placed under the microscope are those that are currently being whispered about in the corridors and shouted about from some rooftops," he said.

Of special interest, said De Vos, is the work around state capacity, the functioning of the labour market, how natural resources can be used in a developmental strategy as well as the function of state owned enterprises.

The initiative, which will be implemented under the auspices of the newly established Centre for Africa's Social Progress (CASP) at the HSRC will have policy and research components.

The policy component will include a model of a developmental state for South Africa which will feed into government agencies and departments.

The research component will consist of two main projects - state capacity building and state-owned enterprises.

The HSRC will work closely with policy stakeholders in government, civil society, business, labour, community groups and academics to inform public policy, scholarly discussions and public debates.