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Why is Development in Sub-Saharan Africa so Difficult? Challenges and Lessons Learned


  • Franz Heidhues


Economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa has been lagging behind. At the time of independence, a number of Sub-Saharan countries had relatively favourable development prospects and income levels comparable with those in Southeast Asian countries. Yet, many Southeast Asian countries today have far higher development and income levels, some even entering the group of semi-industrialized or emerging economies. The logical question that emerges is: why? The paper highlights the rising gap in economic growth and other development indicators between Sub-Saharan and Asian countries, discusses the major strategies and approaches to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa-particular factors, constraints and barriers, analyses the relative weights that research and the literature attach to the various factors and formulates challenges for fostering economic and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Suggested Citation

  • Franz Heidhues, 2009. "Why is Development in Sub-Saharan Africa so Difficult? Challenges and Lessons Learned," Review of Business and Economic Literature, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Review of Business and Economic Literature, vol. 0(3), pages 398-417.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:revbec:20090311

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    Sub-Saharan Africa; Economic development; Geography; Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights


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