No. 01 (2020): CODESRIA Bulletin, No 1, 2020

This issue of the Bulletin returns to ongoing work theorizing Africa’s economic development. It zeros in on the debate on Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) in the design of development interven- tions for and in Africa. A resurgent area of western in- tellectual curiosity and policy initiative, RCTs recently attracted renewed attention and unexpected validation with the award of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Esther Duflo, Abijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer. This trio was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for their work in adapting the experimental method of RCTs to the design of development interventions in Africa, and was lauded by the Nobel Committee for thus making a major contribution to poverty alleviation. This catalysed vibrant debates and rebuttal amongst academics, development practitioners and public policy experts that continues to date, including on social media platforms. The debates centred around the merits of applying RCTs to development thinking in the continent. Consistently, interlocuters have sought to contextualise the literature on RCTs within the historical sociology of knowledge production and dissemination, with an emphasis also being placed on the impact on development outcomes. Read the Full Editorial

Published: 2020-08-18