SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Africa – Why Economists Get it Wrong

Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong Book Cover
Morten Jerven

Date: 4 June 2015Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 4 June 2015Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Suite

Type of Event: Book Launch

Not so long ago, Africa was being described as the ‘Hopeless Continent’. Recently, though, talk has turned to ‘Africa Rising’, with enthusiastic voices exclaiming the potential for economic growth across many of its countries. What, then, is the truth behind Africa’s growth, or lack of it?

In this provocative book, Morten Jerven fundamentally reframes the debate, challenging mainstream accounts of African economic history. Whilst for the past two decades experts have focused on explaining why there has been a ‘chronic failure of growth’ in Africa, Jerven shows that most African economies have been growing at a rapid pace since the mid-90s. In addition, African economies grew rapidly in the 50s, the 1960s, and even into the 1970s. Thus, African states were dismissed as incapable of development based largely on observations made during the 1980s and early 1990s. The result has been misguided analysis, and few practical lessons learned.

An essential account of the real impact economic growth has had on Africa, and what it means for the continent’s future.

Respondent: Tunde Zack-Williams (University of Central Lancashire)
Chair: Christopher Cramer (SOAS)

About the author

Morten Jerven teaches at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It, and has published widely on African economic development, especially on patterns of economic growth and economic development statistics.

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Organiser: Centre of African Studies, University of London & International African Institute

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