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Africa's Growth Prospects in a European mirror: a Historical Perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Broadberry, Stephen

    (London School of Economics and CAGE)

  • Gardner, Leigh

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

Drawing on recent quantitative research on Europe reaching back to the medieval period, and noting a relationship between the quality of institutions and economic growth, this paper offers a reassessment of Africa’s growth prospects. Periods of positive growth driven by trade, followed by growth reversals which wiped out the gains of the previous boom, characterized pre-modern Europe as well as twentieth century Africa. Since per capita incomes in much of sub-Saharan Africa are currently at the level of medieval Europe, which did not make the breakthrough to modern economic growth until the nineteenth century, we caution against too optimistic a reading of Africa’s recent growth experience. Without the institutional changes necessary to facilitate structural change, growth reversals continue to pose a serious threat to African prosperity. Only if growth continues after a downturn in Africa’s terms of trade can we be sure that the corner has been turned.

Suggested Citation

  • Broadberry, Stephen & Gardner, Leigh, 2013. "Africa's Growth Prospects in a European mirror: a Historical Perspective," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 172, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:172
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/172-2013_broadberry.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lopez-Uribe, Maria del Pilar & Castells-Quintana, David & McDermott, Thomas K. J., 2017. "Geography, institutions and development: a review ofthe long-run impacts of climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65147, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Naudé, Wim, 2017. "Entrepreneurship, Education and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 10855, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. EZZAHIDI, Elhadj & El Alaoui, Aicha, 2015. "Determinants of the recent growth surge in Africa: what changed since mid-1990s?," MPRA Paper 67792, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. McDermott,Thomas K.J., 2016. "Investing in disaster risk management in an uncertain climate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7631, The World Bank.
    5. UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, "undated". "Resource Dependence and Inequality in Africa: Impacts, consequences and potential solutions," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2017-07, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.

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    Keywords

    Africa; Growth prospects.;

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