SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Economic development of Africa: macroeconomic approaches

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Final Year
Taught in:
Term 2

This module looks at the macroeconomic dimensions of the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa since independence, though historical perspectives are also considered. Both the theoretical debates related to the economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa and discussed in a critical way, and case studies are presented.


Pre-requisite Modules:

Macroeconomic Analysis OR Microeconomic Analysis OR Issues in Development Economics

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

LO1.    Have acquired an understanding of the main theoretical debates and controversies related to the macroeconomic dimensions of Sub-Saharan economies;

LO2.    Know the main macroeconomic facts and characteristics (commonalities and differences) of Sub-Saharan African economies, both at a general level and through selected case studies;

LO3.    Have acquired an understanding of the various constraints that shape the development paths of Sub-Saharan African economies;

LO4.    Have a general knowledge of the various determinants (policy-related, structral) of the growth paths of Sub-Saharan African economies. 


Two hour lecture and a one hour tutorial per week.

Scope and syllabus

The module covers the following topics: the impact of state intervention and public policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, the effects of reforms programmes of International Financial Institutions, including privatisation,the constraints on industrialisation, international trade and export structures, regional agreements, foreign direct investment, foreign aid, the determinants of growth, the problems of the financing of development and debt.

Method of assessment

Written exam paper - two hour examinations - woth 70% of the total mark for the module.

A 2,500 word essay, worth 30% of the total mark - due Term 3.

Suggested reading

Core Reading:

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.

Kentikelenis, Alexander E., Thomas H. Stubbs and Lawrence P. King. 2016. IMF Conditionality and Development Policy Space, 1985-2014, Review of International Political Economy, vol. 23, n°4, pp. 543-582.

Aryeetey, Ernest and Nelipher Moyo. 2012. Industrialisation for Structural Transformation in Africa: Appropriate Roles for the State, Journal of African Economies, vol. 21, AERC Supplement 2, pp. ii55–ii85.

Bayliss, Kate and Elisa Van Waeyenberge. 2018. Unpacking the Public Private Partnership Revival, Journal of Development Studies, vol. 54, n°4, pp. 577-593.

McMillan, Margaret, Dani Rodrik and Inigo Verduzco-Gallo. 2014. Globalization, Structural Change, and Productivity Growth, with an Update on Africa, World Development, vol. 63, November, pp. 11–32.

De Melo, Jaime and Yvonne Tsikata. 2014. Regional Integration in Africa: Challenges and Prospects, Helsinki, WIDER working paper 2014/037 UNCTAD. 2014. Economic Development in Africa: Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa, Geneva, UNCTAD.

UNCTAD. 2014. Economic Development in Africa: Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa, Geneva, UNCTAD. (only chapters 1 and 2)

Ndikumana, Leonce and Lynda Pickbourn. 2017. The Impact of Foreign Aid Allocation on Access to Social Services in sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Water and Sanitation, World Development, vol. 90, pp. 104–114.

Rodrik, Dani. 2018. An African Growth Miracle?, Journal of African Economies, vol. 27, n°1, January, pp. 10–27.

Battaile, Bill, F. Leonardo Hernández and Vivian Norambuena. 2015. Debt Sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Unraveling Country-Specific Risks, Washington D. C., the World Bank, policy research working paper 7523.

Additional Reading:

Mkandawire, Thandika. 2001. Thinking about Developmental States in Africa, Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 25, n°3, May, pp. 289-313.

Thorbecke, Erik. 2006. The Evolution of the Development Doctrine, 1950-2005, Helsinki, WIDER research paper 2006/155.

Diao, Xinshen, Kenneth Harttgen, and Margaret McMillan. 2017. The Changing Structure of Africa’s Economies, World Bank Economic Review, vol. 31, n°2, June, pp. 412–433.

Austin, Gareth. 2015. Is Africa Too Late For ‘Late Development’?  Gerschenkron South of the Sahara, Kyoto, World Economic History Congress (WEHC), 7 August.

Nissanke, Machiko. 2011. Commodity Markets and Excess Volatility: Sources and Strategies to Reduce Adverse Development Impacts, Amsterdam, Common Fund for Commodities.

Hoekman, Bernard and Dominique Njinkeu. 2017. Integrating Africa: Some Trade Policy Research Priorities and Challenges, Journal of African Economies, vol. 26, suppl. 2, 1 November, pp. ii12–ii39.

Chen, Yunnan, Irene Yuan Sun, Rex Uzonna Ukaejiofo, Tang Xiaoyang and Deborah Brautigam. 2016. Learning from China? Manufacturing, Investment, and Technology Transfer in Nigeria, Washington D. C., IFPRI discussion paper 01565.

Harrigan, Jane. 2007. The Doubling of Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa: Promises and Problems, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, vol. 25, n°3, September, pp. 369-389.

Jerven, Morten. 2010. African Growth Recurring: An Economic History Perspective on African Growth Episodes, 1690–2010, Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, School for International Studies, Simons Papers in Security and Development 4/2010.

UNCTAD. 2016. Economic Development in Africa: Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa, Geneva, UNCTAD (only chapters 2 and 3).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules