African Economic Development: Growth, Reversals, and Deep Transitions

E.H.P. Frankema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


African per capita income levels have fallen significantly behind other world regions during the long twentieth century. But despite the outward appearance of economic stagnation, African economies underwent profound transitions. This chapter contrasts African patterns of recurrent growth and contraction, and persisting specialization in primary commodity production, to deeper changes in factor endowments, economic geographies, and institutions governing states and markets. It discusses the periodization of growth cycles in relation to global market forces and colonial and postcolonial economic policies, and questions how the deeper currents of change have affected the capacity of African societies to outgrow poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Economic History of the Modern World
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: 1870 to the Present
EditorsS. Broadberry, K. Fukao
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781316671603
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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