The state and economic development remains a contested and evolving relationship. Renowned scholar, Stanford Professor Francis Fukuyama, reflected on the global history and development of this relationship. In his view, the key question has been how governments can create the conditions for business-led economic growth, but, in contrast to the way the Washington Consensus was often interpreted, there are many ways in which developing countries can achieve this.

Fukuyama notes that the plausibility of a state-led development model has made a partial return, encouraged by the apparent success of the Chinese development experience, but we should remain cautious about the replicability of this model in other contexts. There is a general acceptance that we need to abandon the ‘good governance’ project, and accept that ‘good enough governance’ represents a more plausible and pragmatic approach. Fukuyama argued that we should no longer be trapped by ideology or by the false temptation of universalist recipes for success. Every country, South Africa included, needs to formulate its own development strategy.

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