Wilson Center Experts

Ann Bernstein

Public Policy Scholar
Africa Program

Economics and Globalization
International Development
Urban Studies
Southern Africa
Latin America
Executive Director, Centre for Development and Enterprise, South Africa
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Democracy, Growth and Development in India, Brazil and South Africa"
Aug 01, 2013
Dec 15, 2013

Ann Bernstein heads the Centre for Development and Enterprise, South Africa. As independent think tank, CDE is regarded by many including the London Financial Times as South Africa’s leading policy centre for social and economic development. Bernstein was a member of the Transition Team and then the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (1994 - 2001). In 2005 she was selected as a Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC. In 2007 she joined the Board of the Brenthurst Foundation. In 2008 and in 2009 she was an invited faculty member at the World Economic Forum, Davos. Her book, "The Case for Business in Developing Economies" (Penguin, 2010) has received favourable reviews in the Economist, Financial Times and elsewhere. In March 2012 the book was awarded the annual Sir Anthony Fisher Award by the Atlas Research Foundation in Washington DC.

Project Summary

Is there an alternative to the Beijing Consensus developing in the democracies of the South? While the enormous and undoubtedly impressive achievements of China over the past few decades needs to be recognized there are high costs in terms of human rights and liberties associated with Chinese development. An authoritarian, state-dominated approach to development has little attraction for democrats. There is therefore a need to turn the spotlight away from China and other authoritarian societies. We need alternative models of development rooted in the actual experiences of the developing world. The Washington consensus is no longer a widely supported ‘brand’ or model. A new democratic consensus based on the achievements and experiences of prominent developing country democracies would go a long way towards demonstrating that growth and the reduction of poverty can take place without sacrificing democratic freedoms.

Major Publications

  • "The Case for Business in Developing Economies," Penguin 2010
  • Editor: "Democracy and Inclusive Growth: States, markets and enterprise in India, Brazil and South Africa"
  • Editor of numerous publications on youth unemployment, education reform, land reform and the role of business in South Africa

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