The map of Africa is indicative of the myriad of problems that it faces; it is a question mark! In spite of recent improvements in the economies of some African countries and the emergence of some into middle-income status, poverty rates continue to be high. Most African countries are engulfed in debt; most of Africa’s economies have been unable to expand sufficiently to provide employment for the youthful population; and most people live on less than a dollar daily. For these reasons, Africa is generally described as economically underdeveloped. In attempting to answer the key questions raised, this course will navigate the history of economic development in Africa, South of the Sahara, paying attention to the trade in human beings and its economic legacy; the role of colonial administration and foreign capital; colonial economic policies; and post-colonial economic policies pursued by African governments.
Objectives: Upon the successful completion of this course, the student will understand:
- Key determinants in African economic development
- The impact of the slave trade
- Historiography of Africa
- The impact of Europe on the African economy
Week 1 Topic: Imperial Capitalism
Claude Ake (1981). A Political Economy of Africa. New York: Longman.
Chapter 1: Methodology and theoretical foundations; and Chapter 2: Colonialism and the Capitalist Penetration of Africa
Week 2 Topic: Imperial Capitalism
Walter Rodney (1973). How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
Chapter 4: Europe and the Roots of African Underdevelopment – to 1885
Week 3 Topic: Precolonial Industries
John Thornton (1990-1991). Precolonial African Industry and the Atlantic Trade, 1500-1800. African Economic History, 19, pp. 1-19.
Week 4 Topic: Women and Economic Growth
Emmanuel Akyeampong and Hippolyte Fofack (2012). The Contribution of African Women to Economic Growth and Development: Historical Perspectives and Policy Implications. Part I: The Pre-Colonial and Colonial Periods. (World Bank Policy Research Paper 6051).
Week 5 Topic: Atlantic Trade
David Northrup(2004). West Africans and the Atlantic, 1550-1800. In: Philip D. Morgan and Sean Hawkins, Black Experience and the Empire (pp. 35-57). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Week 6 Topic: Slave Trade
Nathan Nunn (2008). The Long-term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123.1, pp. 139-176.
Week 7 Topic: Slave Trade
Martin A. Klein (2001). The Slave Trade and Decentralized Societies. Journal of African History, 42, pp. 49-65.
Week 8 Topic: Taxation in Colonial Africa
Barbara Bush and Josephine Maltby (2004). Taxation in West Africa: Transforming the Colonial Subject into the “Governable Person”. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15, pp. 5-34.
Week 9 Topic: Metals in Africa
John Iliffe (2007). Africans: The History of a Continent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 3: The impact of metals
Week 10 Topic: Colonial Labour Politics
Frederick Cooper (1996). Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 2: The Labor Question Unposed
Week 11 Topic: Poverty in Africa
John Iliffe (1987). The African Poor: A History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 9: Rural Poverty in Colonial Africa
Week 12 Topic: Economic Explanations for the African Development
Morten Jerven: Africa: Why Economics get it wrong
Chapter 2: Trapped in History
A.E. Afigbo (1997). Southeastern Nigeria, the Niger-Benue Confluence, and the Benue in the Precolonial Period: Some Issues of Historiography. History in Africa, 24, pp. 1-8.
Adu, Boahen. (1975). Ghana: Evolution and change in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Essex: Longman.
Agbodeka, Francis. (1992). An economic history of Ghana from the earliest times. Accra: Ghana Universities Press.
Agyeman-Duah, Ivor. (2008). An economic history of Ghana: Reflections on half a century of challenges and progress. Oxfordshire, UK: Ayebia Clark Pub.
Akonor, K. (2006). Africa and IMF conditionality: The unevenness of compliance, 1983-2000. London: Routledge.
Allen M. Howard (1976). The Relevance of Spatial Analysis for African Economic History: The Sierra Leone-Guinea System. The Journal of African History, 17.3, pp. 365-388.
B. Ndoma-Egba (1979). The Development of Village Markets in the Cross River Basin of Nigeria. Journal of African Studies, 6.1, pp. 3-8.
Charles H. Ambler (1986). Population Movement, Social Formation and Exchange: Central Kenya in the Nineteenth Century. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 18.2, pp. 201-222.
Frimpong-Ansah, J. H. (1991). The vampire state in Africa: The political economy of decline in Ghana. London/Trenton, NJ: James Curry Publishers.
Gwyn Campbell (1991). An Industrial Experiment in Pre-Colonial Africa: The Case of Imperial Madagascar, 1825-1861. Journal of Southern African Studies,17.3, pp. 525-559.
Gwyn Campbell (1991). The State and Pre-colonial Demographic History: The Case of Nineteenth Century Madagascar. The Journal of African History, 32.3, pp. 415-445.
Gwyn Campbell (2005). Unfree Labour and the Significance of Abolition in Madagascar. In: Gwyn Campell (ed.) Abolition and Its Aftermath in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (pp. 66-82). London: Routledge.
Hopkins, A. G. (1973). An economic history of West Africa. Essex: Longman.
Hutchful, Eboe. (2002). Ghana’s adjustment experience: The paradox of reform. UNRISD.
Kanbur, R. & Aryeetey, E. (2007). The economy of Ghana: Analytical perspectives on stability, growth and poverty. Oxford: James Currey Publications.
Killick, Tony. (2010). Development economics in action: A study of economic policies in Ghana. London: Routledge.
Mogomme A Masoga and Hassan O. Kaya (2014). African Indigenous Ecology Control and Sustainable Community Livelihood in Southern African History. International Journal of African Renaissance Studies – Multi-, Inter-, and Transdisciplinary, 9.2, pp. 6-19.
Omar A. Eno (2005). The Abolition of Slavery and the Aftermath Stigma: The Case of the Bantu/Jareer people on the Benadir coast of southern Somalia. In: Gwyn Campell (ed.) Abolition and Its Aftermath in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (pp. 83-93). London: Routledge.
Owen J.M. Kalinga (1984). Towards a Better Understanding of Socio-Economic Change in 18th- and 19th Century Ugonde. Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 24.93, pp. 87-100.
Pellow, Deborah. & Chazan, Naomi. (1986). Ghana: Coping with uncertainty. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Peter Delius and Stefan Schirmer (2014). Order, Openness, and Economic Change in Precolonial Southern Africa: A Perspective from the Bokoni Terraces. Journal of African History, 55, pp. 37-54.
Rimmer, D. (1992). Staying poor: Ghana’s political economy, 1950-1990. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Robin Law (1980). Wheeled Transport in Pre-Colonial West Africa. Journal of the International African Institute, 50.3, pp. 249-262.
Stephan Baier (1976). Economic History and Development: Drought and the Sahellan Economies of Niger. African Economic History, 1, pp.1-16.
Tettey, J. Wisdom, Puplampu, P. Korbla, & Berman, J. Bruce. (2003). Critical perspectives in politics and socio-economic change in Ghana. Boston: Brill Press.
Assignments & Grading:
- Reading assignment are compulsory
- Students have to raise two questions relating to the assigned article as part of the continuous assessment
- Active participation in class will count into the continuous assessment
- Group presentations will be part of the continuous assessment
- Final exam
Message from the Instructor:
Group presentations: The presentations should give a case study of the issue of the assigned literature on a specific region. Each group can decide on a region and discuss their choice with the lecturer. Therefore, the presentation should not be a summary of the assigned article or repeat its central argument. Presentations must be discussed with the lecturer at least one week before the respective session, but an earlier engagement with your presentation is strongly encouraged. Identify a group leader and discuss your presentation as soon as possible. The grading for the presentation will be collective.
Student questions: Every student has to raise two questions in relation to the assigned reading. These questions have to be submitted by 5 pm the day before the class, and the best questions will be discussed in class with the other students. The submission of questions is part of the continuous assessment as performance in class. The aim of this task is to encourage critical engagement with research literature.
Performance in class: This will be an active course for students, which means that oral participation during the sessions is obligatory for students.
Taking notes: Students are expected to take notes independently. There will be no dictation of content.
Recap of session: At the beginning of each session the last session will be repeated. Students’ performance during this part will be assessed for the ‘performance in class’ for the continuous assessment.
- Continuous assessment constitutes 40% of the final mark.
- Presentation: 20%; performance in class: 20%.
- The end of the semester examination will make up the other 60%.
- Students with incomplete continuous assessment will not be allowed to take the exam.
- Students are expected to attend every class, and all students are expected to participate in all class activities.
- Excused absences require a report from a University medical officer.
- Assignments are due before the class period.
- Assignments submitted anytime after will be have a reduced score.
- Assignments are to be typed (12-point font) or neatly handwritten.
- Cover page to include: Name, index number, course title and code, department, and title of assignment
- For more information refer to the History Education Format Guide for Long Essays / Research Reports
- Required readings will be made available to students through their class rep. The additional readings will be available in the Reading Room.
- Turn cell phone off or on silence. No phone calls or texting during class.
- Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.