nl en

Economics Africa


Admission requirements

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

Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


This course will equip the students with a broad general understanding of African economics, as well as providing more in-depth knowledge on relevant dynamics in contemporary African economics.
The study of economics in Africa will offer students insights into the continent from the perspective of global economics. The imbalance between the global North and South are not a “natural” event, but rather are the result of a long history of capitalist development. Africa, African societies and African countries have been and remain the protagonists of this global history. In particular, the inreasing dominance of external capitalist interests – which explains to a large degree the disparity in wealth between European societies and African ones – has impacted on the resource-rich African continent.

The following is a list of issues that will be covered in this course:

  • Introduction to African economics

  • History of African economic development

  • Reading and understanding African statistics

  • International financial institutions: IMF, World Bank, etc.

  • The economics of poverty

  • Agriculture production

  • Aid and trade

  • Employment and labour

  • Environmental political economy

  • Globalization and Africa

  • Human and social development

  • Industrialization and infrastructure

  • Macroeconomics and finance

Course objectives

In Africa, as elsewhere, society, culture, politics, sport, music, etc. are dominated by the pull of economics. But what is the nature of (African) economics? To answer this question, it is crucial to understand how capitalist economics works.
The main objective of this course is to make students aware that economics is not a field that can be left to “specialists”, because economic choices and policies have direct consequences on societies. In all studies and/or work relating to Africa, a firm grasp of the “economic discourse” is crucial. Through economics, we can explain a great deal of what is going on in the African continent, both in positive terms, such as, for example, growth, health improvements, etc. and in negative terms, such as conflicts, inequalities, etc.
Economic policies have to address simple needs in often complex ways, in the context of competing political agendas. To become knowledgeable about economics, students must place particular attention on the functioning of the markets (labour, goods, financial etc.). The course will highlight the different economic policies that African governments, private actors and societies have adopted in order to address questions raised by the complex relationship between markets and society.
Finally, it is difficult to study African economic systems without adopting an interdisciplinary approach. The course will equip students with a methodology that provides a means to link the study of economics to developments in history and politics, both global and local.


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.

Course Load

Total course load for the course 5 EC x 28 hours is 140 hours, broken down by
12 lectures: 24 hours
4 tutorials: 8 hours
Reading & self-study: 72 hours
Research & paper writing: 36 hours

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%;
Midterm exam 30%;
Final exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.
To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • M. P. Todaro & S. C. Smith, Economic Development (12th edition), Pearson 2014

  • UNECA, African Statistical Yearbook 2014, United Nations Mul edition 2014 (PDF is available online for free)

  • World Bank, Atlas of Global Development, A Visual Guide to the World’s Greatest Challenges (4th edition), Collins Bartholomew for the World Bank 2013

Further articles and audio-visual materials will be distributed in class (uploaded on Balckboard)

  • H. Chitonge, Economic Growth and Development in Africa: Understanding global trends and prospects, Routledge 2015

  • S. Amin, Maldevelopment: Anatomy of a Global Failure, Pambazuka Press 2010


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. S. Bellucci, email

For tutorials Economics Africa:
Economics Africa