1st Edition

Structural Change in Africa Misperceptions, New Narratives and Development in the 21st Century

By Carlos Lopes, George Kararach Copyright 2020
    264 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Debates on African development continue to downplay the achievement of the continent: economic achievements are diminished and the perception of a conflict prone continent continues. Many of the policy prescriptions externally imposed on African countries have done little to transform the continent largely because they have been conceived and applied without context.

    Using literature from diverse origins, this book expands our knowledge about Africa and makes practical suggestions as to how successful development in a complex, yet dynamic continent can be achieved. Widening the policy dialogue and providing alternative thinking on the key elements and full extent of opportunities and challenges towards achieving the socio-economic transformation of Africa, the book moves the debate from the rhetoric to reality.

    As a considered reflection on the ‘Africa’s transformation’ narrative, it outlines the practical pathways necessary for Africa’s sustainable development, providing policy makers and researchers with tested solutions. It will be of interest to all scholars, students and policy professionals working in African development, public policy, international political economy, economic policy and politics.


    Chapter 1: Defining structural transformation

    Chapter 2: Seeking transformation? Africa is not alone

    Chapter 3: Transformation through industrialization

    Chapter 4: Understanding other key enablers of Africa's structural transformation

    Chapter 5: Innovative development financing sources

    Chapter 6: Selected experiences: drilling into the country dimension

    Chapter 7: African circumstances and efforts into the future


    Carlos Lopes is a Professor at Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town and Visiting Professor at Sciences Po in Paris as well as 8th Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (2012—2016).

    George Kararach is a Lead Economist, the African Development Bank Group, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; a Non-Resident Fellow, Payne Institute, Colorado School of Mines, Illinois, USA and until recently Senior Economist at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

    "This is the book so many of us have waited for and will welcome as an informed and rigorously empirical contribution to the challenges of our times – loss of biodiversity, fragile and fading social cohesion and the emergence of new forms of authoritarianism. It’s narrative of possibility, based on empirical evidence and informed by pluralist scholarship, constitutes a new departure in the economics of development. It is a work that is invaluable, not only to the continent of the young and the future that is Africa, but for all scholars and policy-makers concerned at the insufficiency of current economic models in delivering a sustainable global world. We are indebted to Lopes and Kararach." - Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

    "Capturing the diversity and richness of African narratives about development - past, present and future - remains a complex challenge. In their endeavour to bring context and perspective to Africa’s contemporary discourse about the future, Lopes and Kararach offer an eclectic yet compelling review of ‘narratives about Africa’ to demonstrate that perceptions often are not reality when it comes to reporting, research or rhetoric about Africa. Geography, demography and economy take centre stage in their search for greater African agency in articulating choices and pathways that will shape Africa’s future development and transformation. A rich and thought-provoking book that conveys opportunity and excitement about Africa’s diverse and fast changing prospects." - Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

    "This timely book presents one of the critical issues of development economics in the twenty-first century, namely Africa’s structural change. It combines both theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence to examine the challenges and misconceptions surrounding Africa’s structural transformation, and the central importance of industrialization. It will undoubtedly generate optimism about Africa. A must read to policymakers, researchers, and students!" - Arkebe Oqubay, Ethiopian Minister and author of "Made in Africa" (OUP, 2015)

    "Western based depictions of Africa massively underestimated its size and just about everything else about the continent. New tropes, such as ‘Africa Rising’ are equally misleading. The continent urgently needs a new narrative to support a transformative agenda underpinned by African agency. This is exactly what Lopes and Kararach provide in their superb new book which is essential reading for everyone with any interest in the future of Africa." - Kevin Marsh, Professor of Tropical Medicine and Director of Oxford Africa Initiative, Oxford University

    "This book is different! So, a must read. It presents a rich and refreshing perspective on Africa’s need for structural transformation with analysis based on diverse intellectual and philosophical approaches. Ultimately, it is Africans who must act to change mindsets by building a continent whose reality awakens and inspires." - Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian Senior Minister, former World Bank Managing Director and Chair of GAVI and Africa Risk Capacity

    "This will be the first book I place in the hands of the emerging African leaders who study at the Mandela School. Not ignoring political economy challenges, Lopes and Kararach have written an articulate and persuasive exhortation to African agency in development, also describing the immense imminent potential of African economic development. It is comprehensively researched and eloquently copy edited." - Alan Hirsch, Professor and Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

    "A forward-looking assessment of Africa’s prospects and the pathways for achieving structural transformation and inclusive growth. This is a must read for policymakers and students of African economies." - Fantu Cheru, Emeritus Professor, American University, Washington, DC

    "This book debunks the dominant analysis of Africa economic and social condition, examine methodically the politics, policy prescriptions and knowledge production that have reworked and accounted for the gains (often neglected) and regressions (always highlighted) of the continent's development trajectory. It paints a rich and multifaceted future of an awakening continent. An essential reading for everyone interested in the future of Africa." -Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Family Professor of African Studies and History, Columbia University

    "This is a thought proving and timely book on the prospects of and barriers to Africa's economic transformation. Its arguments challenge a number of liberal ideas about the best paths to economic prosperity making it all the more interesting." - Jonathan Rosenthal, Africa Editor, The Economist