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Department of Economics

African Economic Development 1 (MSc RID)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

This course is only available to students enrolled on the MSc Research for International Development programme.

The aim of this course is to increase students' capacity to use their growing knowledge of economic theory, development economics and econometrics in rigorous analysis of a subset of critical issues facing policy makers in sub-Saharan Africa. Attention is paid to data quality and the statistical problems that are a feature of the best applied economic literature covering these countries. The heterogeneity of African economies is stressed and students are encouraged to focus their written work on particular sub-regions, countries and sectors. The course also emphasizes the importance of a detailed grasp of economic history as a basis for critically assessing generalised debates on the determinants of recent economic performance.

This course will delivered alongside the parallel course African economies 1: Applied Microeconomic Analysis, worth 18 CATS credits. Students will have the opportunity to attend all lectures and tutorial, but the examinable component will be approximately  85% of the 18 CATS credits syllabus. The following topics will not be part of the examinable component of this course: Week 8: Education and Economic Development.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
understand the major and minor strands in debates over African economic development. They will be able to apply their knowledge in constructing a critical analysis of the issues for a particular African country, and will be able to use economic data appropriately.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial

Scope and syllabus


Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: Exam 70% / coursework 30%. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.

Suggested reading

1. Austin, Gareth (2008), 'Resources, techniques, and strategies south of the Sahara: revising the factor endowments perspective on African economic development, 1500–2000’. Economic History Review, Aug2008, Vol. 61 Issue 3, p587-624
2. Arrighi, Giovanni (2002), ‘The African crisis: World Systemic and Regional Aspects, New   Left Review, 15, p5-36
3. Sender, J. (1999), “Africa’s Economic Performance: Limitations of the Current Consensus”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, No. 3, Summer