Call for applications for participants to attend APORDE 2020
African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics
Johannesburg, South Africa

Supported by The South African Department of Trade Industry and Competition (the dtic),

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

We are pleased to announce that the fourteenth edition of the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg (South Africa) from 30th of August to the 11th of September 2020. However, please note following:


• A decision on the 2020 programme will be made at the end of June, taking into account the state of affairs regarding the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions due to the state of disaster declared in South Africa

• The selection process will happen as described in this call and the closing date is scheduled for the 1st of June 2020

APORDE is a high-level training programme in development economics which aims to build capacity in economics and economic policy-making. The course is run for two weeks and consists of lectures and seminars taught by leading international and African economists. This call is directed at talented economists, policy makers, academics and civil society activists who, if selected, will be fully funded to participate in the course.

Please note that we receive many high quality applications and that, as a result, entry into APORDE will be very competitive (only 25 applicants will be selected). It is therefore important that applicants complete and submit all the required documentation.

APORDE is an initiative of the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (the dtic) with the support of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Previous APORDE lecturers include among others the internationally renowned economist Ha-Joon Chang (University of Cambridge) as well as leading lecturers from SOAS and Cambridge University.

“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 recent 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, Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of South Africa

What previous participants have said about the course:

  • It touches on the most important developmental aspects which are critical to African Countries.
  • The knowledge acquired from the course has changed my attitude towards Industrial Policy.
  • The course provided an in-depth understanding of development issues at work.
  • Great course, great lecturers, great everyone.

We encourage anyone with an interest in development to read and distribute this call for applications.


Africa is probably the continent most affected by the poor availability of cutting-edge research and teaching in economics. While only a few African countries have experienced sustained economic development in the past 50 years, African governments and civil societies have in the past been weakly equipped to respond critically to external initiatives aimed at their development and to generate endogenous strategies. The tide is, however, gradually turning: in South Africa and in other African countries, the need for “more” (rather than merely “better”, which has often proved to mean “less”) state intervention in economic affairs is increasingly recognised. Crucially, economic take-off and converting growth spurts into sustained periods of structural change appears bound to remain a pipedream unless it is premised on developmental policy; South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry is leading the way with its industrial policy. However, few African decision makers feel equipped to design and implement such policies, a gap which APORDE aims to help fill.


APORDE will allow talented academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from Africa, 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 and interact with some of the best development economists in the world and with other participants.

 APORDE will cover essential topics in development economics, including industrial policy, rural poverty, inequality and financialisation. Lectures will equip participants with key information pertaining to both mainstream and critical approaches. The programme will mostly consist of daytime lectures, while a number of shorter evening talks and debates will also be organised. 

Previous sessions included:

  • Critical Perspectives on Development Economics
  • Market, State and Institutions in Economic Development
  • Governance, Democracy and Economic Development
  • Globalisation, Global Value Chains and Regional Value Chains
  • Trade and Industrial Policy
  • Agriculture, Economic Development and Land Reform
  • Gender, Development and Growth
  • International Financial Flows
  • Industrial Development in Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America
  • Mineral Resource and Industrial Policy
  • Industrial Policy in South Africa

Previous lecturers included:

  • Thandika Mkandawire (London School of Economics)
  • Ha-Joon Chang (Cambridge University)
  • Ben Fine (SOAS, University of London)
  • Gabriel Palma (Cambridge University)
  • Mushtaq Khan (SOAS, University of London)
  • Stephanie Seguino (University of Vermont)
  • Chris Cramer (SOAS, University of London)
  • Jayati Ghosh (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  • John Sender (SOAS, University of London

Applications Process

Applicants must demonstrate first-class intellectual capacity and (at least some) prior knowledge in economics/political economy, as well as proficiency in English. The objective of APORDE is to attract participants from a broad range of backgrounds and preference will be given to persons who have demonstrated exceptional capacity in their professional experience.

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

Prospective applicants should go to the APORDE website and follow the link to the application forms.

Please note that in addition to completing the online form, you have to complete and upload the application form in a word format.

The following documents should be prepared to upload

  • An official transcript (showing courses taken and grades obtained);
  • A certificate of the highest qualification
  • A recent curriculum vitae not exceeding 5 pages in length
  • 2 (two) letters of reference, where possible 1 academic referee and 1 professional
  • 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).
  • The word format of the application form which you will find on the APORDE web page.

Once you have completed the online application and uploaded all the required documents, please email the same documents to .

Should you have any queries, please contact Christian Kabongo (

Please go to the application form here.

Please do not forget to login to download the application form.