Work & Experience


Raphael Malcolm Kaplinsky


31st December 1946


B.A. University of Cape Town with Distinction in Social Anthropology.

M.A. Development Economics, University of Sussex.

D.Phil. University of Sussex

D.Phil. (Honoris Causa) University of Johannesburg


2015 ongoing

Honorary Professor, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex

2015 ongoing

Emeritus Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

2015 ongoing

Emeritus Professor, Open University

2009 ongoing

Research Associate, PRISM, University of Cape Town

2006 – 2014 ongoing

Professor of International Development, The Open University

1998 – 2006 ongoing

Professor, Centre for Research in Innovation Management, University of Brighton (half-time)

1979 – 2006 ongoing

Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (half-time between 1998-2006)

1978 ongoing

UNIDO Expert, seconded to Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Kenya

1974 – 1977 ongoing

Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi

1970 – 1974 ongoing

Research Assistant, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

1969 – 1970 ongoing

Research Assistant, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex


Extensive experience in providing policy support and capacity development to:

  • Governments in Africa, the Caribbean and Southern Europe
  • International Organisations (UN Family, World Bank, African Union, EU)
  • Civil Society Organisations


Panel Member, International Panel on Social Progress (2015-2017)

Assessor, Capturing the Gains Research Network (a multimillion Pounds research network funded by DFID), 2010-2012.

Chair, Advisory Council, Queen Elizabeth House (2007-2010). Member of Advisory Council,  2006-2011

Member, External Project Review Community for the UK Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre (IMCRC) (2007-2009)

Member Editorial Boards: International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development; European Journal of Development Research; Perspectives In Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources; Innovation and Development; International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development.

Professorial Research Associate, South Africa Labour and Development Unit (SALDRU), University of Cape Town, South Africa (2009 ongoing)

Visiting Professor, University of KwaZulu Natal (1996-2005)

Member of Review Panel of Shell Corporation Sustainable Communities and Environmental Programmes, 2000-2001.

Trustee Mandela Scholarship Fund, 1997-2006

Guest Editor of various issues of World Development, Journal of Development Studies, European Journal of Development Research, Appropriate Technology, IDS Bulletin.

Group Leader and Member of Expert Committee, Commonwealth Ministers Committee on Sanctions against South Africa.

Coordinator, European Association of Development Institutes Science and Technology Working Group, 1986-1987.

Adviser to UK Shadow Minister of Overseas Development, 1986-1987.


Raphie Kaplinsky “grew up” at the IDS (Institute of Development Studies), after he arrived from South Africa in 1969. At various stages he coordinated the Industrialisation and Globalisation teams, directed three cohorts of the MPhil Programme and played a central role in helping to define and implement the strategic direction of the IDS. In 2006 he moved to the Open University, assisting the development group there to define its research agenda, and in 2015 returned to the IDS where he is now an Emeritus Fellow.


Engaging with African Policy Makers

Amongst other engagements, Raphie Kaplinsky:

Participated in the World Economic Forum’s Metal and Metals industry Partners Strategy Meeting in November 2011

Presented to various meetings on industry and policy stakeholders organised by the Common Fund for Commodities and UNCTAD 2010 and 2011

Presented to various meetings with Ministers of Industry at UNIDO.

Addressed the African Chief Executives Forum on the role which benchmarking can play in supply chain development.

Together with Esko Aho (former Prime Minister of Finland, and subsequently CEO of Nokia) was the keynote speakers at the opening of the 11th Annual Conference of the Global Competitiveness Institute and was on the Closing Panel of Speakers. His presentation addressed the impact of China on Africa’s development strategies.

Presentations to various meetings organised by the World Bank and ILO on Global Value Chains and the Impact of China on SSA.


Research interests

Raphael is the author of numerous books on technology, industrialisation, and globalisation. These  include studies on globalisation, industrial policy, industrial organisation, global value chains, the international automobile sector, computer-integrated automation, computer aided design, the impact of microelectronics on employment, appropriate technology and on the resource sector. During the 1990s he pioneered research on changing patterns of organisation in manufacturing in developing countries and on global value chains. In 2005 he published a widely-cited book on globalisation, utilising micro-, meso- and macro-data to examine the generalised consequence of upgrading in the global economy (Globalization, Poverty and Inequality). More recently he has researched the impact of China and India (“The Asian Driver” economies) on Africa, and the implications of their growth for the global commodities sector (The Impact of China on Global Commodities, 2012). His current research is focused on the contribution of Emerging Economy innovation on pro-poor innovation and growth strategies in low income economies. During the course of this research he has over the years worked with enterprises, government-departments and other organisations in Japan, the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, Central America, Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Central Asia.


Operational experience

Raphael Kaplinsky has participated in numerous UN and EU Missions, providing advice to a large range of countries, particularly on industrial and technology policies. He has led teams of advisers in Central America, Cyprus, South Africa and Kazakhstan and has participated as an adviser in a number of other countries. Between 1991 and 2003 he worked intensively with the South African government on Industrial Policy, and has been deeply involved in the development of industrial strategy in the post-Apartheid era. He has also provided advice on strategic focus and on manufacturing organisation to transnational firms, and to firms in the UK, Africa, Brazil, Central Asia, Central America and India. In the mid-1990s he worked with the European Commission on a programme of assistance to encourage organisational restructuring in European manufacturing and services. More recently, he has worked with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on policies towards the resource sector.


Research management

Between 1998 and 2003 Raphael was the research manager of an integrated and globally networked programme of research on Globalisation and Value Chains undertaken by the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in cooperation with a range of global partners drawn from academia, the corporate sector, the multilateral agencies and civil-society. In 2005 he initiated a similar globally-networked research programme on the impact of dynamic Asian economies on the developing world (The Asian Drivers Programme), and has particular responsibility for the programme’s work on Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this he worked closely with the African Economic Research Consortium’s 20 country Asian Driver Research Programme. More recently he has co-directed a research programme with the University of Cape Town on linkages form the commodities sectors in Africa.