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Political Economy: Africa




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Comparative Politics or permission from the course instructor.


This course will analyse the intersection of politics and economics in relation to diverse developments in the African continent. These dynamics will be explored from the perspective of African countries, including their interrelationships as well as the relationships between Africa and other key players outside the African continent.

The course will explore, among other things, the dynamics that have influenced the economic and political development of natural-resource-dependent countries like Nigeria, Botswana and Angola. It will also explore the impact of natural resources on conflict in countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo DRC and South Sudan. Furthermore, the course will explore the relationship between political stability and economic growth across the continent.

At another level, the course will also try to explain why, perhaps with the exception of Mauritius, manufacturing has rarely driven economic growth in Africa and the implications of this for the future economic advancement of the continent. The course also examines the impact of foreign direct investments and foreign aid on the political and economic development of Africa. Greater emphasis will be placed on aid-dependent countries like Rwanda, South Sudan and Liberia.

Finally, the course will look at the relationship between states and businesses across the continent and the potential role of indigenous entrepreneurship and the African diaspora in African development.

In summary, this course explores the diverse debates on the political economy of Africa. Key topics include: the relationship between African states and businesses; regional and monetary integration both at the continental and sub continental levels; Africa and the global financial system; intra African trade and African trade with the rest of the world; natural resources and conflict in Africa; foreign aid and foreign direct investments in Africa; China in Africa; the future of Africa; and the role and dynamics of the African diaspora among others.

Weekly themes:
1. Africa in the World
2. Political regimes and economic growth in Africa
3. States and businesses in Africa
4. Africa and the Global Financial System
5. Regional integration, NEPAD and intra African trade
6. Natural resources, infrastructure, development and conflict in Africa
7. Western and Eastern nations in Africa

Course objectives

During the course, students should acquire:

  • A clear understanding of the dynamics that shape the perspectives and debates on the political economy of Africa.

  • A clear appreciation of the interrelationship between political and state structures and economic development in Africa.

  • The capacity to critically analyse the academic literature pertaining to the themes discussed in the weekly seminars and actively engage in seminar discussions on the weekly themes.

  • The capacity to formulate an original research question and write critical essays corresponding the academic level on a subject of choosing related to the course content


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The mode of instruction will consist of lectures (2 hours every week) and class seminars (2 hours every week). Students are expected to participate actively during class seminars. They will also be divided into groups and be required to make presentations on aspects of the course outline during such meetings. Attendance of lectures and class seminars is compulsory.


Class participation (20%)
Group presentations (25%)
Short essays / weekly assignments (25%)
Final essay (30%)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Literature will be assigned corresponding to the weekly themes in the course syllabus.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Chibuike Uche