Structural change and productivity growth in Africa

Professor Margaret McMillan, International Food Policy Research Institute

Start: Apr 2012|   End: Sep 2014

Research Councils UK project page

This research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of structural transformation in Africa. While it is well understood that structural change and economic growth go hand in hand, there is little consensus among researchers - and in the case of Africa little actual research - on the determinants of structural transformation.

A major contribution of this project is the construction of a harmonised long-term sectoral dataset for several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This dataset will consist of time series information on value added in international prices and employment for ten broad economic sectors for the period from 1960 to 2010.

With this new dataset, the researchers will identify countries in which structural change has been growth enhancing as well as countries in which structural change has reduced economic growth. Comparisons with other developing regions of the world will be made through similar datasets already available for Asia and Latin-America. Using the results of this analysis, the researchers will identify specific policies and events that have influenced the process of structural change.

The researchers will also examine the links between urbanization, food prices and structural change by using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods including in-depth case studies.