Africa’s Unfolding Economic Transformation

March 1, 2018 - Author: Thomas S. Jayne, Jordan Chamberlin and Rui Benfica

Thomas S. Jayne, Jordan Chamberlin and Rui Benfica. 2018. Africa's Unfolding Economic Transformation, Journal of Development Studies, 54(5)

Despite the continued deep challenges that the region is facing, mounting evidence points to profound economic transformation in sub-Saharan Africa since the early 2000s. The contributions in this special issue highlight three aspects of Africa’s unfolding economic transformation since 2000: remarkable progress for the region as a whole, highly uneven progress across countries, and unresolved questions about the sustainability of the transformations. The drivers of the region’s economic transformations are diverse, and include improved governance, strong agricultural growth in some countries, employment expansion in informal rural off-farm activities, strong local and foreign investment, a period of high global commodity prices, and policy reforms undertaken in earlier decades. Agricultural growth, by expanding job opportunities in the non-farm sectors through multiplier effects, is likely to remain an important driver of continued transformation, though it will increasingly need to rely on productivity growth rather than area expansion.


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