Last week the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) hosted the fourth Africa Task Force meeting in in Pretoria, South Africa. The meeting hosted a number of leading political scientists and economists who discussed the impact and implications of the financial and economic crisis on Africa, agricultural development, climate change and policy innovations to foster social and economic development. The agenda, participants, and papers presented at the event are online for public view.
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz founded the IPD in 2000, to open up a dialogue with specific developing countries on alternative policies and programs for development. Stiglitz is of course best known for his criticism of the tragic effect dominant economic development paradigms have had on the world's poor. The work of the IPD is a counter to many of the traditional policy perspectives supported by the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. The Africa Task Force meeting in SA highlighted cutting-edge and unconventional approaches to African development. Beyond the obvious criticisms of the failures of neoliberal globalization, the meeting really raised some specific policy recommendations that can have a positive impact on African livelihoods today. This was the kind on meeting that reminds me why development matters.