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Department of Economics

African economies 2: applied macroeconomic analysis

Course Code:
15PECC025
Unit value:
0.4
Taught in:
Term 2

This course carries forward the treatment of African economies provided in Part I by aiming to increase students' capacity to use their growing knowledge of economic theory and development economics in rigorous analysis of a subset of the critical issues facing policy makers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), this time focusing on macroeconomic issues, in particular international trade.  The course relies both on the best theoretical studies in development economics and the most relevant applied economic literature referring to Sub-Saharan African countries.  The heterogeneity of Sub-Saharan African economies is stressed and students are encouraged to focus their written work on particular sub-regions, countries and sectors.  The course presents the most important debates and critically assesses the determinants of Sub-Saharan countries' economic performance.  Topics covered include:  the role of the state;  the impacts of international financial institutions (IMF and World Bank) reforms programmes;  industrialisation; privatisation; international and intra-regional trade;  foreign direct investment;  official development assistance, the determinants of growth and debt

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The course consists of 10 lectures, which present issues of particular importance for Sub-Saharan Africa development, in a macroeconomic perspective.  The objectives of the course are to explain the most important and recent theoretical debates in development economics applied to Sub-Saharan Africa regarding the 10 topics, e.g., the determinants of growth in SSA, the impacts of trade policies, the consequences of commodity dependance, and many topics.  

Students are provided with detailed outline of the lectures via Moodle, and a reading lists that includes both required readings and additional references, in order to help students for the exams, essays and additional references, in order to help students for the exams, essays and dissertations.  Each lecture is followed by a seminar where two students make a short presentation based on the most important academic papers, which have been written on the subject of the lecture, for students to be aware of teh current theoretical debates regarding SSA.  All students are requested to read these papers, for the general discussion to be productive and for students to have a deeper understanding of the issues presented in the lectures.  

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to identify the macroeconomic issues that are the most important in SSA today.  Students will also be able to explain the strengths and weaknesses of SSA economies of each issue, and to critically discuss the different schools of though in a given debate.  

As cases studies will be discussed in the lectures and seminars, students will be able to apply their theoretical knowledge to particular countries and settings.  As the lectures present examples from regions outside SSA, e.g.' Asia students will be able to analyse the characteristics that are specific to SSA, if any, and compare them to other economies outside SSA.  Students will also be able to elaborate clear syntheses on a given question, and have the opportunity to develop their own ideas, thanks in particular to the essays and seminar presentations.  

As the lectures and seminars strongly emphasize the heterogeneity of the academic literature and findings on a given question, as well as past and current debates, students will develop their capacity to critically assess the many existing studies as well as the (often contradictory) findings regarding SSA economies

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: Exam 70% / coursework 30% (1 essay). All coursework is resubmittable.

Suggested reading

Background Reading

  1. Akyüz, Yilmaz and Charles Gore. 2001. African Economic Development in a Comparative Perspective, Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 25, n°3, May, pp. 265-288
  2. Kaplinsky, Raphael and Mike Morris. 2008. Do the Asian Drivers Undermine Export-Oriented Industrialisation in SSA?, World Development, vol. 36, n°2, pp. 254–273
  3. Nissanke, Machiko.  2011. Commodity Markets and Excess Volatility:  Sources and Strategies to Reduce Adverse Development Impacts, Amsterdam, Common Fund for Commodities