African Economic Development

By Daniels, Lisa | African Studies Review, December 2005 | Go to article overview
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African Economic Development


Daniels, Lisa, African Studies Review


Emmanuel Nnadozie. African Economic Development. London: Oxford University Press, 2003. 662 pp. Glossary. Bibliography. Index. $99.95. Cloth.

Emmanuel Nnadozie has produced an excellent comprehensive textbook on economic growth and development in Africa. The book draws on the experience of an impressive group of twenty-five African and non-African scholars from academia and development agencies. By reviewing multiple development theories and controversies related to these theories, identifying policy prescriptions that stem from them, and then examining these within the context of different African countries, this book fills a gap in the literature. Furthermore, it is written for a wide audience, including academics, policymakers, and students, both graduate and undergraduate.

African Economic Development consists of twenty-three chapters divided into six parts. Part 1 is an introduction to Africa, including the reasons for studying African economic development, the diversity within Africa, and the measurement of development. Part 2 surveys the geography and history of Africa, growth theories and the performance of Africa, population, and poverty. The third part covers critical issues such as ethnic diversity, health, education, democracy, political instability, inequality, and corruption. Part 4 examines individual sectors: agriculture, financial markets, and savings and investment. Part 5 discusses the international environment, including trade, regionalism, globalization, and information technologies. Finally, part 6 addresses economic policies and sustainable growth and development.

Comparing this book to seven other major economic development textbooks (none on Africa in particular), I found it to be unrivaled in terms of its comprehensive coverage of development issues. Like all the others, African Economic Development includes chapters on economic growth, population, education, agriculture, trade, and financial policies, but unlike them, it deals with topics that are either not addressed or are scattered throughout the other textbooks. Thus Nnadozie provides chapters on ethnic diversity, democracy, political instability, regionalism, globalization, and information technologies, as well as on health and corruption (the last two addressed as separate chapters in only one other textbook).

Nevertheless, although Nnadozie covers many issues not fully examined elsewhere, he skimps on environmental issues and on economic planning versus the market. Whereas each of the seven development textbooks used for comparison has a separate chapter on sustainable development (examining issues such as soil erosion, water pollution, air pollution, congestion, communal forests, and environmental degradation in general), Nnadozie looks only at land conservation in the context of his chapter on land tenure.

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