The cycle of development in Africa. A story about the power of economic ideas
During the last 60 years development in Sub-Sahara Africa has had three main phases – P1, P2 and P3 – divided by kinks in 1972 and in 1994. P1 (before 1972) and P3 (after 1994) had fairly satisfactory growth, but P2 (between the kinks) had negative growth. This cyclical growth path has to be explained by variables with a similar path. A set of socio-economic variables representing 11 possible explanations are considered. Some of these were proposed to account for the low growth of Africa, while most are meant to explain the growth tragedy of P2. Most of the variables have paths with no relation to the cycle, but the shifts in the dominating development strategy do have a cyclical path that matches. At the end of P1 the main policy-package in Africa became the one of African socialism. It led to large scale rent seeking, inefficiency and economic regression. At the end of P2 policies were adjustment towards a more market based system and growth resumed.
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