Special Issue of JDS: Economic Transformation in Africa, March 2018

February 28, 2018 - <jayne@msu.edu>, Jordan Chamberlin, and Rui Benfica

MSU faculty Thomas Jayne (1) with Jordan Chamberlin (2) and Rui Benfica (3) are guest editors of the special issue of the Journal of Development Studies on Economic Transformation in Africa (March 2018).

With over 30 years of experience studying sub-Saharan Africa agricultural and resource economics, Jayne and collaborators come together is this special issue of the internationally renowned journal to synthesize their findings. Jayne explains that “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.

Jayne’s conclusion message is that “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.”

Most of the research presented in this report was supported by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy.

(1) Thomas Jayne is University Foundation Professor, Michigan State University, AFRE Department
(2). International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(3). International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, Italy


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