SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Economic development of Africa: macroeconomic approaches

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
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

Students pursuing a degree external to the Department of Economics should contact the convenor for approval to take this module.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

 On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the macroeconomic issues that are the most important in SSA today.  
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of SSA economies for each issue, and critically discuss the different schools of thought in a given debate.  
  • Strongly emphasize the heterogeneity of the academic literature and findings on a given question, as well as past and current debates.
  • Develop a 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

Suggested reading


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules