The forthcoming final conclusions of the Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) programme are the impressive product of a decade of high-grade, multidisciplinary research steered by the ESID leadership at The University of Manchester. They are significant in their own right but also as the culmination of at least 20 years of cumulative work in a number of research centres that, as a whole, has radically improved the quality of academic and policy thinking about the governance, politics and political economy of development, not least in relation to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. While celebrating this achievement, those who have been working in what might now be called the ESID tradition (hereafter 'we') should also be taking the opportunity to ask: what's next? To the extent that funding allows, what should be the top priorities for research in our tradition during the coming decade? This paper offers one answer, with particular reference to the part of the world whose future development seems least certain, sub-Saharan Africa (hereafter 'Africa'). My starting point is that we need to reflect broadly on the degree to which the social sciences generally are responding adequately to the challenge posed by future development trajectories in Africa, beginning with policy-oriented economics. The priority questions that more specialised research on politics and political economy should be asking should be derived from this. Sub-Saharan Africa faces an alarming long-term outlook. With a massive demographic dividend in prospect, few countries, if any, have the means to turn this to their advantage by rapidly expanding employment-intensive economic sectors. The best economic analysis is facing up to this challenge better than it was even a few years ago, with new attention to structural change, technology absorption and the capabilities of firms and other organisations. However, this paper argues, it is not clear that this thinking has yet got to the nub of the problem. The nub of the problem consists in two things: first, giving real effect to the changes in agriculture, without which employment-intensive manufacturing will not be able to take off; and second, focusing honestly on the perverse incentives generated by the prevailing social-property relations in agriculture. On the first issue, there is a continuing intellectual disconnect between the policy literatures on manufacturing and agricultural transformation, respectively. On the second, even the best discussion remains 'Smithian' (as per Brenner, 1977; 2007), in that it focuses on market opportunities and missing capabilities but neglects the changes in producer incentives-rooted in social-property relations-that are no less required if the necessary investments in productivity are to occur. It is hard to overstate the importance of getting policy and research to pay serious attention to these issues over the coming years. What next for the political economy of development in Africa? Facing up to the challenge of economic transformation 2 Mainstream economics has obvious blind spots when it comes to dealing with such matters. However, political economy research in the ESID tradition has helped less than it might have done. While our take on many significant issues in development has become vastly more sophisticated, we too have had our blind spots. Having responded energetically, and with good results, to 'bringing the state back in', we have lost sight of some of the critical interdependencies between state forms and prevailing social-property relations. At its best, 'political settlements' analysis has recognised these linkages, but it has been drawn by its interest in industrial policy, narrowly conceived, to neglect the social-property relations in agriculture as completely as mainstream economics. In setting future priorities for political-economy research, this should be corrected. On the one hand, we should give renewed attention to the important ways in which, following Hyden and Chabal among others, the strengths and limitations of African states reflect the kinds of socioeconomic systems in which they are embedded; states should not be expected to work as they do under capitalism until economies become capitalist. On the other, we should reconsider the qualities that make regimes 'developmental', placing far greater emphasis on their willingness and ability to enable productivity-enhancing social disciplines in the countryside. In looking for transferable lessons from Asia and elsewhere, we should be giving broader attention to the political processes and social changes that preceded industrial success.