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Economics Africa


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


As African economies have changed since independence, so too has Africa’s place in the world. At no time in history were African resources, including agriculture, more sought after than in the present. Whilst the much of the world wallows in crisis, Africa has returned high GDP growth rates, attracting record amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI). The current rate of urbanisation in Africa is the highest in the world, further highlighting the profound economic transformation taking place in Africa in the present. This course identifies and analyses pertinent dynamics of contemporary African economics. The course is loosely organised around five central themes; economic structures in Africa (commodities, agriculture, industrialisation and inclusivity), the impact of ICTs (mobile phones, internet, social media and remittances), informality, Urbanisation and Africa economies and the world (Development Cooperation and economic diplomacy, Europe and BRICS). The course provides an in-depth analysis of each of the indentified dynamics, employing also a number of specific cases for comparative purposes. Because the class is relatively small, students will be required to have done the reading, and be able interact on the basis of the selected readings during lectures.

Course objectives

The course aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of current economic dynamics in Africa, as well as the academic and policy debates that correspond with such dynamics. As perhaps no continent is more systematically stigmatised, the course aims to inspire students to create new and independent interpretations of African economic dynamics, moving beyond mainstream dogmas associated with African economic development. The course will highlight the main actors involved in the current economic dynamics of Africa including entrepreneurs, new technology, trading partners, donors and foreign direct investment. Students should emerge from the course with a clear understanding of African economics in a global and regional perspective. Students will also develop relevant generic skills such as presentation, debating and essay writing.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorials

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%, Exam 70%.

A resit is only required if the total is not 6 or higher. There are no resits for the tutorials.


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

In as much as possible, course readings are selected in order to make students aware of the different arguments which exists surround preselected economic dynamics in Africa. Some of the selected readings will deal with specific cases which relate to the topics discussed in during a given lecture. The Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa (2012), edited by Aryeetey, Devarajan, Kanbur and Kasekende will be used as a textbook. Guest lecturers from both within and outside Academia will fill certain lectures.


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.