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The Prospects for Sustained Growth in Africa

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Author Info

  • Arvind Subramanian
  • Jonathan David Ostry
  • Simon Johnson

Abstract

A dozen countries had weak institutions in 1960 and yet sustained high rates of growth subsequently. We use data on their characteristics early in the growth process to create benchmarks with which to evaluate potential constraints on sustained growth for sub-Saharan Africa. This analysis suggests that what are usually regarded as first-order problems-broad institutions, macroeconomic stability, trade openness, education, and inequality-may not now be binding constraints in Africa, although the extent of ill-health, internal conflict, and societal fractionalization do stand out as problems in contemporary Africa. A key question is to what extent Africa can rely on manufactured exports as a mode of "escape from underdevelopment," a strategy successfully deployed by almost all the benchmark countries. The benchmarking comparison specifically raises two key concerns as far as a development strategy based on expanding exports of manufactures is concerned: micro-level institutions that affect the costs of exporting, and the level of the real exchange rate-especially the need to avoid overvaluation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/52.

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Length: 57
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/52

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Related research

Keywords: Economic growth; gdp growth; growth rates; trade policies; gdp per capita; per capita income; real gdp; trade liberalization; food exports; interstate conflicts; tradable goods; transport equipment; growth rate; commodity prices; black market premium; trade openness; political economy; export performance; duty-free access; export growth; transition countries; rules of origin; external shocks; skilled labor; global production chains; trade shocks; measure of trade; world economy; global production; per capita growth rate; global markets; dispute resolution; export marketing; terms of trade shocks; modern terms of trade; export orientation; export sector; quantitative restrictions; export ratios;

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References

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  1. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  2. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  3. Arvind Subramanian & Raghuram Rajan, 2005. "What Undermines Aid's Impacton Growth?," IMF Working Papers 05/126, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Hausmann, Ricardo & Pritchett, Lant & Rodrik, Dani, 2004. "Growth Accelerations," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Eswar S. Prasad & Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 153-230.
  6. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  7. Mattoo, Aaditya & Roy, Devesh & Subramanian, Arvind, 2002. "The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and its rules of origin : generosity undermined?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2908, The World Bank.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Yunyong Thaicharoen, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2004. "Institutions As The Fundamental Cause Of Long-Run Growth," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 002889, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
  11. Rodrik, Dani, 1999. " Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 385-412, December.
  12. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. repec:rus:hseeco:123147 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. repec:imf:imfpdp:9806 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Richard B. Freeman & David L. Lindauer, 1999. "Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 6942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 2003. " Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-94, June.
  17. Allan Timmermann, 2006. "An Evaluation of the World Economic Outlook Forecasts," IMF Working Papers 06/59, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Jerzmanowski, Michal, 2006. "Empirics of hills, plateaus, mountains and plains: A Markov-switching approach to growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 357-385, December.
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