As colonial empires began to crumble in the decade after World War II, there were high expectations for growth in Africa south of the Sahara. Over the next three decades, Africa’s economic outcomes were, for the most part, profoundly disappointing. This volume, the first of four books resulting from our project, provides expert assessments regarding some of the basics of recent economic development in Africa: the rule of law, the extent of political stability, the role of foreign aid, and what happens after civil war. The papers here also take up key details of how the state operates, including actions and policies that are more or less conducive to economic development. Our authors also provide some longer-run assessments of the growth process. Based on this analysis, we believe Sub-Saharan Africa today has strong prospects for further development, even including potential convergence towards the income levels seen in today’s developed countries.
Keywords: Africa, economic development, conflict, institutions, decentralization, autocracy, ethnic groups, governance, informal sector, corruption