Category Archives: APE

West African political economy: a regional history

The origins of West African political economy In the course of the twentieth century West Africa went through a revolution consisting of an explosion in population, the rise of huge cities and the political division of the region into nominally independent states. While becoming more closely integrated into the world economy than ever before, the… Read More »

Category: APE

State, region and revolution in African development

Africans wait for emancipation in an unequal world We live in a racist world. Despite the collapse of European empire and the formal adoption of a façade of international bureaucracy, the vast majority of black Africans are still waiting for meaningful emancipation from their perceived social inferiority. The idea that humanity consists of a racial… Read More »

The case for an African customs union

Introduction I first explain what I mean by saying that the informal economy, a concept I was associated with coining in the early 1970s, has taken over the world, largely as a result of neoliberal deregulation over the last three decades. After a brief account of my own early exposure to West Africa, I turn… Read More »

How the informal economy took over the world

“The informalization of the world economy”, keynote lecture for the 24th Conference of the Societa’ Italiana di Economia Pubblica: “Informal economy, tax evasion and corruption”, Pavia, 24-25 September 2012 A la recherche du temps perdu The idea of an informal economy was born at the moment when the post-war era of developmental states was drawing… Read More »

South Africa’s two-tier economy

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 identifies twelve “pillars” of sustainable national competitiveness: institutions; infrastructure; macroeconomic environment; health and primary education; higher education and training; goods market efficiency; labour market efficiency; financial market development; technological readiness; market size; business sophistication; and innovation. 142 countries are then ranked according to relevant variables in a… Read More »

Category: APE

Classes for and against a liberal revolution

You may well ask how these separate factors might generate sustainable forms of enterprise capable of raising African economies to new levels in the near future. Economic success is always a contingent synthesis of existing and new conditions. There is no model of successful enterprise, just many stories of economic innovation waiting to be discovered… Read More »

Cultural sources of a liberal revolution in Africa

The classical liberal revolutions were sustained by three ideas: that freedom and economic progress require increased movement of people, goods and money in the market; that the political framework most compatible with this is democracy, putting power in the hands of the people; and that social progress depends on science, the drive to know objectively… Read More »

What might sustain rapid development in Africa soon?

Expectation of rapid economic improvement soon in Africa seems counter-intuitive at this time, especially given Africa’s symbolic role as the negation of ‘white’ superiority. Black people have played this role for centuries as the stigmatized underclass of an unequal world society organized along racial lines; and never more than now, when American and European dominance… Read More »

Africa’s hope

There is a lot more to be said about what has happened as a result of Africa’s urban revolution in the twentieth century. But let’s fast forward a bit and consider the prospects for the coming half-century. The publication of an oped piece by Chinua Achebe in today’s New York Times, Nigeria’s promise, Africa’s hope,… Read More »

Category: APE