Development research in South Africa

January 11, 2011
IDRC Communications

Ruled for decades by the systematic, violent injustice of apartheid, South Africa by the mid-1980s was subjected to international sanctions and near-universal condemnation. It was in this period — long before transition seemed likely — that IDRC opened its own new assessment of its approach to South Africa.

An intensive, highly structured campaign of fact-finding and analysis, championed by IDRC executives and staff, was launched in late 1985. It would result, some three years later, in a program of development research support designed expressly to prepare South Africans for a non-racial democracy.

The program certainly had influence: When the first freely elected majority government took office in 1994, more than half the members in the new South African cabinet had earlier participated in IDRC projects.

Download the PDF: South Africa