DV435      Half Unit
African Political Economy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr. Eyob Balcha Gebremariam


This course is compulsory on the MSc in African Development. This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, MBA Exchange, MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies and Master of Public Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course is an introduction to contemporary African political economy with the aim of helping students to develop a comparative understanding in African political economy. The goal is to examine past and current trends in the political economic development of selected African countries to understand continuity and change through time. The thematic focus of the course examines the impact of the political and economic change on different social groups, particularly young people. The course will also allow students to develop analytical skills to describe and explain causes of cross national similarities and differences in social, economic and political structures and institutions.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the LT.

There will be a revision session in LT.

There will be a reading week in Week 6.


Formative coursework

Optional formative essay due in November.

Indicative reading

Celestin Monga and Justin Yifu Lin, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics, Vol. 2, Politices and Practices (OUP 2015). 

David E. Bloom, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Paul Collier, Christopher Udry, "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, vol. 1988, n. 2 (1998): 207-295.

Fouad MAKKI, "Postcolonial Africa and the World Economy: The Long Waves of Uneven Development," Journal of World-Systems Research, 21/1 (2014): 124-146.

Benno J. Ndulu, "The Evolution of Global Development Paradigms and their Influence on African Growth [through policy]," in Benno J. Ndulu et al, The Political Economy of Economic Growth in Africa: 1960-2000, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 315-345.

Fred Cooper, Africa Since 1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Keith Hart, The Political Economy of West African Agriculture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

Samir Amin, "Underdevelopment and Dependence in Black Africa: Origins and Contemporary Forms," Journal of Modern African Studies, 10.4 (1972): 503-24.

Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Africa and the Legacy of late Colonialism (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1996).

Catherine Boone, Property and Political Order in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

J.F. Ade Ajayi, "Expectations of Independence," Daedalus, vol. 111, n. 2 (1982): 1-9.

Kate Meagher, Identity Economics, Social Networks and the Informal Economy in Africa (James Currey 2010).

Thandika Mkandawire, "Thinking about Developmental States in Africa," Cambridge Journal of Economics, 25 (2001): 289-313.

Honwana, Alcinda, and Filip De Boeck. Makers & breakers: Children and youth in postcolonial Africa. James Currey, 2005.

Ake, Claude. Democracy and development in Africa. Brookings Institution Press, 2001.

Thankdika Mkandawire and Charles C. Soludo, Our Continent, Our Future: African Perspectives on Structural Adjustment (Dakar: CODESRIA , 1999).

Honwana, Alcinda Manuel. The time of youth: Work, social change, and politics in Africa. Kumarian Press Pub., 2012.


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (40%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 27.9
Merit 60.6
Pass 10.3
Fail 1.2

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2017/18: 47

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 87%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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