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Democratizing the Developmental State

Chema Triki

Chema has 14 years of experience in government advisory and industrial and private sector development policies. She is a partner at Growth Teams, which aims to empower key government agencies in developing countries to problem-solve for growth, investment, and jobs. Prior to this, she was the Head of Industrialisation at the Tony Blair Institute, covering and overseeing TBI’s work on industrialisation and industrial policy in 17 African countries. She was also a TBI-embedded advisor with the Ethiopian government working on job creation, industrial and employment policies. She has worked with several international organisations, including at the OECD on private-sector development in the Middle East and North Africa region and with the ILO on structural transformation, investment and industrial policies. She began her career in management consulting in financial services. She is an Engineer in Applied Mathematics and holds a Master of Public Administration from Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics, with economic policy as a major.

How do you perceive the general topic in relation to your hub?

This project is important because it gives us the opportunity to engage with researchers and practitioners around the world on a very relevant topic: how to develop tools that allow us to understand democracy and development, and then how to use those tools. For me, having worked on industrial policy and industrialisation, it is central that we look at how economic growth, and more broadly economic transformation, interacts with the notion of democratisation. In many parts of the world, this is a key question for policymakers: is democracy a prerequisite for effective economic transformation? Recent practice seems to suggest that it is not, with waves of development driven by non-democratic regimes, particularly in Asia. But we need more research to understand exactly how this complex causal chain works, because economic transformation is ultimately related to social organization, and I think our hub will provide the environment for such research.

How do you relate to the other hubs?

The study of democracy and development cannot be done without a careful examination of other social factors, including social mobilization or the rise of populism. A central element in the story of democracy and development is the emergence of a robust middle class with sufficient bargaining power to negotiate with political elites. Therefore, the work we expect to carry out in our hub will have natural synergies with other components of this project. I expect this to be particularly important as the more research-oriented phases of the project begin.