DV418      Half Unit
African Development

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Thandika Mkandawire CON. H802


This course is compulsory on the MSc in African Development. This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in Human Rights, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development, MSc in Population and Development, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

Please note that in case of over-subscription to this course priority will be given to students from the Department of International Development and its joint degrees (where their regulations permit).

Course content

The major concern of the course is with the political economy of African development, to examine processes of economic, political, social and cultural change in Sub-Saharan Africa. It provides critical analysis of key development interventions and processes. It seeks to combine general theoretical overviews with country case studies illustrating the variety of experiences and trajectories. It does not aim to provide a comprehensive coverage of development issues or of regions. Course content will vary from year to year, depending on the specialities of staff.

Attention is paid to legacies of the colonial encounter; the constraints and opportunities presented by African countries' positions in the global economy; the political economy of industrialisation and agrarian transformation, resource mobilisation; trade diversification; institutional reforms and state capacity. Attention will also be paid to social policy with special focus on issues such as  social social protection, cash transfers, Millennium Development Goals, horizontal inequality and conflict.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

There will be a ninety minute revision session in late LT or early ST.

Formative coursework

Students will write a 2,000 word essay chosen from class questions and in discussion with the course leader, to be submitted by the beginning of week 6 of Lent Term.

Indicative reading

A detailed weekly reading list will be provided at the first course meeting. The following readings provide an introduction to the course:

  1. Paul Nugent, Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan: 2004.
  2. Nick Van de Walle, African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  3. Robert Bates, Markets and States in Tropical Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981.
  4. G. Hyden, No Shortcuts to Progress: African Development Management in Perspective. London: Heinemann, 1983.
  5. Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. London: James Currey, 1996.
  6. C Clapham, Africa and the International System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  7. T Callaghy and J Ravenhill (eds), Hemmed In: Responses to Africa's Economic Decline. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.
  8. R Joseph (ed), State, Conflict and Democracy in Africa. Boulder: Lynn Rienner Publications, 1999.
  9. B Wisner, C Toulmin and R Chitiga (eds), Towards a New Map of Africa. London: Earthscan, 2005.
  10. W Harbeson and D Rothchild (eds), Africa in World Politics: Reforming Political Order. Boulder: Westview Press, 5th edition, 2013).
  11. Hossein Jalilian, Michael Tribe and John Weiss (eds), Industrial Development and Policy in Africa - Issues of De-Industrialisation and Development Strategy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2000.
  12. Thandika Mkandawire and Charles Soludo, Our Continent, Our Future: African Perspectives on Structural Adjustment. Dakar/Trenton, NJ: CODESRIA / African World Publications, 1999.
  13. Todd J Moss, African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007.
  14. UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa: From Adjustment to Poverty Reduction: What is New? Geneva: United Nations, 2002.
  15. White, Howard and Tony Killick. African Poverty at the Millennium: Causes, Complexities, and Challenges. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001.
  16. Can Africa Claim the 21st Century? Washington, DC: World Bank, 2000.
  17. Deryke Belshaw and Ian Livingstone (eds), Renewing Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policy, Performance and Prospects. London: Routledge, 2003.
  18. Vishnu Padayachee (ed), The Political Economy of Africa. London: Routledge, 2010.
  19. Steven Radelet, Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development, 2010.
  20. R.H. Bates, When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  21. Ricardo Rene Laremont (ed), Borders, Nationalism and the African State. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005.


Exam (80%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (20%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17
Merit 61.2
Pass 19.7
Fail 2

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2014/15: 65

Average class size 2014/15: 16

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 80.6%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)