SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Economic development of Africa

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 3
Taught in:
Full Year

Please note that this course is capped at a limit of 30 students

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 overing 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 details grasp of economic history as a basis for critically assessing generalised debates on the determinants of recent economic performance. Topics covered include:

  1. Introduction: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty.
  2. Energy, demography and migration.
  3. The Economics of HIV/AIDS.
  4. Agriculture and land reforms.
  5. Industrialisation and trade policy.
  6. Famine.
  7. Food security.
  8. Agricultural pricing and marketing policy.
  9. Education and economic development.
  10. Financial dualism, micro finance and mobile money.


(153400123) Macroeconomic Analysis


(153400130) Microeconomic Analysis

(Note: For BSc Economics and BSc Development Economics students both these courses are core courses in year 2 of their degrees, but BA two-subject degree students can only take EITHER of these two courses in their year 2)

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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.

Method of assessment

Assessment weighing: Exam 70% / coursework 30%. Resubmission of coursework regulations do not apply to this course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules