• The objective of this Blog is to facilitate access to research resources and analyses from all relevant and useful sources, mainly on African Economic Development.

    This Blog will include analyses and observations of the three authors, Steven Langdon, Arch Ritter and Teddy Samy. It will also include hyper-links, abstracts, summaries, commentaries and observations relating to other research works from academic, governmental, media, non-governmental organizations and international institutions.

    Commentary and discussion on any of the postings is most welcome.


Original Article: Quartz: Lagos and Nairobi

By Yomi Kazeem, November 27, 2017

As Africa’s tech startups and their founders go about creating disrupting industries or, in some cases, building new ones, they’ve typically tended to mushroom across three major ecosystems: Nairobi, Cape Town and Lagos.

But over the past year, Lagos’ claim as the continent’s startup epicenter has gained currency. For starters, it’s the continent’s most valuable ecosystem with its startups typically raising far more in early-stage funding. It’s also home to e-commerce heavyweights such as Jumia and Konga and has birthed some of the continent’s best known startups including Andela, iROKO and Flutterwave which have all attracted major global investor interest. Hence, it’s not surprising the world’s biggest tech companies have been paying some attention and, now, they’re backing that up with action.

Lagos, being Africa’s largest city and the commercial center of Africa’s largest economy, has seen its ecosystem grow rapidly time largely thanks to work that’s been done to build the its “Yabacon Valley.” That work is paying off: last year, Nigeria attracted more investment than any other startup ecosystem in Africa.

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Boko Haram, climate change, predatory armies, and extreme hunger are converging on a marginalized population in Central Africa.

The New Yorker, December 4. 2017

By: Ben Taub

Original Article: The World’s Most Complex Humanitarian Disaster

Chad was named for a mistake. In the eighteen-hundreds, European explorers arrived at the marshy banks of a vast body of freshwater in Central Africa. Because locals referred to the area as chad, the Europeans called the wetland Lake Chad, and drew it on maps. But chad simply meant “lake” in a local dialect. To the lake’s east, there was a swath of sparsely populated territory—home to several African kingdoms and more than a hundred and fifty ethnic groups. It was mostly desert. In the early nineteen-hundreds, France conquered the area, called it Chad, and declared it part of French Equatorial Africa.

A few years later, a French Army captain described Lake Chad, which was dotted with hundreds of islands, as an ecological wonder and its inhabitants as “dreaded islanders, whose daring flotillas spread terror” along the mainland. “Their audacious robberies gave them the reputation of being terrible warriors,” he wrote. After his expeditions, the islanders were largely ignored. “There was never a connection between the people who live in the islands and the rest of Chad,” Dimouya Souapebe, a government official in the Lake Region, told me.

Moussa Mainakinay was born in 1949 on Bougourmi, a dusty sliver in the lake’s southern basin. Throughout his childhood and teen-age years, he never went hungry. The cows were full of milk. The islands were thick with vegetation. The lake was so deep that he couldn’t swim to the bottom, and there were so many fish that he could grab them with his hands. The lake had given Mainakinay and his ancestors everything—they drank from it, bathed in it, fished in it, and wove mats and baskets and huts from its reeds.

In the seventies, Mainakinay noticed that the lake was receding. There had always been dramatic fluctuations in water level between the rainy and the dry seasons, but now it was clear that the mainland was encroaching. Floating masses of reeds and water lilies began to clog the remaining waterways, making it impossible to navigate old trading routes between the islands.

Lake Chad is the principal life source of the Sahel, a semiarid band that spans the width of Africa and separates the Sahara, in the north, from the savanna, in the south. Around a hundred million people live there. For the next two decades, the entire region was stricken with drought and famine. The rivers feeding into Lake Chad dried up, and the islanders noticed a permanent decline in the size and the number of fish.

Then a plague of tsetse flies descended on the islands. They feasted on the cows, transmitting a disease that made them sickly and infertile, and unable to produce milk. For the first time in Mainakinay’s life, the islanders didn’t have enough to eat. The local medicine man couldn’t make butter, which he would heat up and pour into people’s nostrils as a remedy for common ailments. Now, when the islanders were sick or malnourished, he wrote Quranic verses in charcoal on wooden boards, rinsed God’s words into a cup of lake water, and gave them the cloudy mixture to drink. By the end of the nineties, the lake, once the size of New Jersey, had shrunk by roughly ninety-five per cent, and much of the northern basin was lost to the desert. People started dying of hunger.

In 2003, when Mainakinay was fifty-four years old, he became the chief of Bougourmi. He was proud of his position, but not that proud; his grandfather had presided over more than four hundred islands—until the government stripped the Mainakinays of their authority as Chiefs of the Canton, a position that they had held for more than two hundred years. The center of power was moved to the town of Bol, on the mainland. The islanders were of the Boudouma tribe; the mainlanders were Kanembou. They didn’t get along.

Other political developments were more disruptive. Colonial administrators had drawn the boundaries of Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger right through tiny circles of huts on the islands. When these nations enforced their borders, the fishermen and cattle herders of Bougourmi, which is in Chad, were cut off from the lake’s biggest market, which is in Baga, on the Nigerian shoreline. In the mid-aughts, hungry and desperate, they turned to foraging in the bush for fruit and nuts. Then they began to run out of fruit and nuts.

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AUTHORS: Steven Langdon, Archibald R. M. Ritter and Yiagadeesen Teddy Samy

ROUTLEDGE: Forthcoming, February 2018.

One source: African Economic Development, Amazon.ca’

Sub-Saharan Africa is at a turning point. The barriers to economic growth of the 1980-2000 era are disappearing and new optimism is spreading. However, difficult goals of eliminating poverty, achieving equity and overcoming environmental threats continue. This much-needed and insightful textbook has been written to help us understand this combination of emerging improvements and significant challenges.

Opening with an analysis of the main theories relating to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, the book explores many of  the key issue-areas, including:

  • Human development: income distribution and poverty, education, health a
  • Structural and gender dimensions;
  • Governance and economic institutions;
  • Urbanization, migration and regional development;
  • Key sectors: agriculture, industry, resources, infrastructure and communications;
  • Sustainable development and environmental issues;
  • International dimensions: trade, the multinational enterprise, development assistance, international migration, and China’s role in Africa.

The authors use economic tools and concepts throughout, in a way that make them accessible to students without an economics background. Readers are also supported with a wide range of case studies, on-the-ground examples and statistical information, which provide a detailed analysis of each topic. This text is also accompanied by a comprehensive companion website, featuring additional sources for students and instructors.

African Economic Development is a clear and comprehensive textbook suitable for courses on African economic development, development economics, African studies and development studies.






Chapter 1:  Dimensions of Development: Geography, Ecology, History

Chapter 2:  Concepts of African Economic Development – Growth, Structural Change, Poverty and Gender

Chapter 3:  Development Theories, Political Economy and Governance

Chapter 4:  Economic Institutions and Planning for Development


            Chapter 5:  Demography

Chapter 6:  Income Distribution and Human Needs

Chapter 7:  Human Development: Education and Health

Chapter 8:  Labour and Livelihoods, Formal and Informal

            Chapter 9:  Urbanization, Migration and Regional Change


Chapter 10:  Environment and Climate Change

Chapter 11:  Agriculture and Rural Development

Chapter 12:  Natural Resources and African Development

Chapter 13:  The Industrial Sector

Chapter 14:  Infrastructure, Communications, Services and Tourism

Chapter 15:  Macroeconomic Management, Debt and Structural Adjustment Plans


            Chapter 16:  Trade and Economic Development

Chapter 17:  Multinational Corporations and Foreign Direct Investment

Chapter 18:  Development Assistance – the African Record

Chapter 19:  The Changing Role of China in Africa

Chapter 20:  International Migration



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United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and African Union: MINERALS AND AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT

UNECA and AU, 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Complete Document: Minerals and African Development Report

 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (abbreviated)

 THIS REPORT ON Africa’s mineral development regimes was prepared by the International Study Group (ISG) established in 2007 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). It analyses African mining from a number of complemenary perspectives, driven by a search for new directions based on the African Mining Vision (AMV) which African leaders adopted in 2009. !e processes which led to this Report started in 2007, at the peak of the expansion in global demand and rise in the prices of minerals and metals before the onset of the global $nancial and economic crisis in 2008. Even as the surge in demand and prices fuelled the best period of growth in Africa for thirty years, the developments also provoked re#ections about the experiences of two decades of continuous expansion of mining across Africa.

The report is based on the central premise of the African Mining vision (AMV) that the structural transformation of African economies is “an essential component of any long-term strategy to ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) …, eradicate poverty and underpin sustainable growth and development”, and that this requires “a strategy … rooted in the utilization of Africa’s signi$cant resource assets”. It recognizes that a central challenge which must be addressed by any long term strategy is how to overcome the historical structural de$ciencies of the mining industry. Mining’s contribution as a supplier of strategic minerals to industrialized countries, the focus of policy on those minerals that play that role, the inadequate returns to the continent and the enclave nature of mining industries have, since colonial times, been and remain central features of the African landscape today. Early post colonial attempts to transform the colonial bequest of an enclave industry failed for a variety of reasons discussed in the Report.

From the late 1980s, the inauguration of extensive liberalizing reforms of regulatory and legal frameworks, on the basis of World Bank prescriptions, drew a line under the nationalist reform efforts. Over the past two decades, the favourable environment the reforms created aided the revival of foreign investment in Africa’s mining industry. While foreign investment has regenerated and expanded mineral production and exports, its contribution to social and economic development objectives has been far less certain and has even been contested in many countries. In many mineral-rich African countries a very visible civil society movement, protesting about the costs and questioning the bene$ts of the revitalized mining sectors, has emerged.

The report examines the costs and benefits of Africa’s contemporary mining regimes and offers proposals about how to optimize the continent’s benefits from the exploitation of its mineral resources while reducing the direct and indirect costs and negative impacts. !ese issues are grouped and discussed in chapters on: the history of mining in Africa; current global trends and the opportunities and challenges they pose; how best to manage the environmental, social and human rights impacts of mining; how to better support and integrate artisanal and small scale mining; the nature and status of corporate social responsibility initiatives; capture, management and sharing of mineral revenues; the optimization of mineral based linkages; the implications of international trade and investments rules for mineral-based industrialization; the important role of institutions and regional strategies for mineral policy harmonization.

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Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division https://unstats.un.org/home/nso_sites/

Kenya: National Bureau of Statistics Workshop

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INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: Some Hyperlinked General Sources and Recent Studies on African Development



African Development Bank. ALL MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

African Development Bank. AFRICA INFORMATION HIGHWAYHttp://dataportal.opendataforafrica.org/

African Development Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Program. African Economic Outlook 2016, SPECIAL THEME: Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation

African Development Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Development Program. 2013. African Economic Outlook 2013: Structural Transformation and Natural Resources.

African Development Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Development Program.  African Economic Outlook, 2017 Entrepreneurship and Industrialisation

African Development Bank, African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa. 2016. African Statistical Yearbook, 2016, Addis Ababa.

African Development Bank, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Programme, Economic Commission for Africa. 2015. African Economic Outlook, 2015; SPECIAL THEME: Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation. Addis Ababa.

African Development Bank. 2016. African Development Report 2015 – Growth, Poverty and Inequality Nexus: Overcoming Barriers to Sustainable Development, Addis Ababa.

Africa Tourism Data Portal



African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme.

2017 Africa Sustainable Development Report: Tracking Progress on Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

All African Union Websites

NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) – Planning and coordinating technical body of the African Union.



World  Migration Report for 2015; Migrants and Cities: New Partnerships to Manage Mobility



Africa Human Development Report 2016; Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa.

Human Development Report 2015: Work for Human Development,

Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone

The Sustainable Development Goals Report, 2017.



World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. Key Findings and Advance Tables.

World Urbanization Prospects: The 2011 revision.


  1. UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA. https://www.uneca.org/ (Regional arm of the UN in Africa.)

UNECA PUBLICATIONShttps://www.uneca.org/publications


Economic Report on Africa, 2015, Industrializing through Trade.

Transforming African economies through smart trade and industrial policy

UN Economic Commission for Africa African Development Bank, African Union and UNDP.  2016. MDG Report 2015: Lessons Learned In Implementing The MDGs. Assessing Progress In Asfrica Toward The Millennium Development Goals. Addis Ababa.

UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Union, African Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme. 2015. MDG Report, Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



UNEP.  African Environmental Outlook 2006.


  1. UNITED NATIONS HABITAT. Nairobi, Kenya.

State of African Cities 2014: Reimagining Sustainable Urban Transitions

World Cities Report 2016 Urbanization and Development:  Emerging Futures.



Economic Development in Africa Report 2017

Handbook of Statistics 2016

Trade and Development Report 2017

World Investment Report (WIR)



Open Knowledge Repository, FOCUS: Sub-Saharan Africa.

World Bank Group – Sub-Saharan Africa. – Provides information on each country, data and statistics, publications and reports, development topics, regional initiatives, projects and programs, partnerships, Millennium Development Goals and Country Public Information Centers.

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017

World Development Indicators, 2017

World Development Report 2018: LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise

World Bank, Migration and Remittances Data. Washington D.C.

Migration and Remittances  Factbook, 2016 (Third Edition)


  1. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the OECD. 2016. Geneva. The Africa Competitiveness Report 2015,



Africa Bibliographical Database  A collection of African social science titles in one location on the web.

Africa Confidential – Information service covering economic and political issues. Has a subscription service for full issues.

allAfrica.com – Sustainable Africa – News about the issues of biodiversity, water, energy, health and agriculture. Includes organizations, calendar and resources.

Brookings Institution, Africa Growth Initiative. 2016. Washington DC Think Tank’s program on Africa.

Columbia University Libraries – African Studies: Business and Economic Information on Africa – Directory of categorized and annotated links.

Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund – Represents a new financing approach for the long term alleviation of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) – Effort to accelerate progress to meet the urgent needs of Africa in support of economic growth and development, addressing both national and regional constraints. Includes Secretariat, membership, press kit and newsletter.

Institute for African Development – Africa Development Program at Cornell University. Africa Notes, program information, announcements

Internet African History Sourcebook: historical sources on the history of human societies in the continent of Africa are presented, when available, without making prejudgements about what is “African”.

Politics and Governments in Africa: The Keele Guide to African Government and Politics on the Internet. An amazingly complete information source

Stanford University – Africa South of the Sahara: Development – Annotated links of business and economic development sites.

University of Pennsylvania – African Studies Center: Development – Annotated directory of links to resources.

World Happiness Report 2017, Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network. http://worldhappiness.report/



 Abbink, Jon, Mirjam de Bruijn & Klaas Van Walraven (Eds). 2003. Rethinking Resistance: Revolt and Violence in African History. Leiden: Brill,

Ajayi, J. and M. Crowder, Editors). 1985. Historical Atlas of Africa. Harlow, United Kingdom: Longman

Collins. R. O. and J. M. Reid. Cambridge: Cambridge University press. A History of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Falola, Toyin. Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Gilbert, Erik and Jonathan T. Reynolds. 2012. Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present. Boston: Pearson (ISBN: 978-0-205-05399

Isichei, Elizabeth Allo. 2004. The Religious Traditions of Africa: A History. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers,

McEvedy, Colin. 1995. The Penguin Atlas of African History. London: Penguin Books,

Meredith, Martin. 2005 The Fate of Africa: A History of 50 of Years of Independence, New York: Public Affairs.

Parker, Johnand Richard Rathbone. 2007. African History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press,

Reid, R. J. 2009. A History of Moden Africa, 1800 to the Present. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

UNESCO. 1181-1993. General History of Africa, 8 Volumes. London Heinemann.

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