IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa: a Review of Channels and Interactions

  • Francis Teal

While the numbers with completed tertiary level education are low in Africa, both relative to other countries and in absolute terms, they have been growing very rapidly. Three questions are addressed in this paper. The first is how higher education links to other forms of capital accumulation in a process that leads to economic growth. The second is how higher education links to job outcomes in particular the role of the public sector and self-employment as outcomes for graduates. The third is whether and how an expansion of skilled jobs can create its own demand. The paper draws on both macro and micro evidence to answer those questions which are placed in a long run historical context. It is argued that growth has been more closely linked to investment in physical capital than in education and this may well reflect the fact that education is most valuable when it is linked to technology which requires higher skills. Data from thirty two African countries are used to show that the returns to education, measured both by macro production functions and by micro earning functions, are highest for those with higher levels of education. A contrast is drawn between the role of higher education in providing access to public sector employment and the increasing importance of self-employment in Africa. The paper concludes by asking whether Africa can use its investment in higher skilled labour to effect a service based growth revolution.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2010-25.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-25
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Road, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Phone: +44-(0)1865 271084
Fax: +44-(0)1865 281447
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jean Luc De Meulemeester & Denis Rochat, 1995. "A causality analysis of the link between higher education and economic development," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1573, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong & Oliver Paddison & Workie Mitiku, 2006. "Higher education and economic growth in Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 509-529.
  3. Geeta Kingdon & Justin Sandefur & Francis Teal, 2006. "Labour Market Flexibility, Wages and Incomes in Subā€Saharan Africa in the 1990s," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 18(3), pages 392-427.
  4. Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah & Francis Teal & Moses Awoonor-Williams, 2010. "Jobs, Skills and Incomes in Ghana: How was poverty halved?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-01, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard Payne)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.