1. Introduction2. Post-colonial adjust and variation3. Contrasting perspectives ~ above the early american legacy4. A pre-colonial view on early american legacies5. Early american regimes: similarities and variations6. Colonial rule and Africa’s specialisation in major product exports7. In the direction of manufacturing?8. Markets and African entrepreneurship9. State capacity10. Conclusion"/>
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This short article reviews how early american rule and also African actions throughout the colonial duration affected the resources and also institutional settings for succeeding economic breakthrough south that the Sahara. The issue is checked out from the perspective of the dynamics of advance in what remained in 1900 an overwhelmingly land-abundant an ar characterised by shortages that labour and also capital, by perhaps surprisingly substantial indigenous market activities and through varying however often low levels of political centralisation. The differential impact of French and also British ascendancy is explored, yet it is suggested that a enlarge determinant of the differential evolution of poverty, welfare and also structural adjust was the contrast in between “settler” and also “peasant” economies.

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Thematic keywords:

colonial | colonisation, democracy, financial | advance history, history, independence, politics economy

Geographic keywords:

Africa Sub-Saharan
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1. Introduction
2. Post-colonial adjust and variation
3. Difference perspectives ~ above the colonial legacy
4. A pre-colonial view on early american legacies
5. Early american regimes: similarities and variations
6. Colonial rule and Africa’s specialisation in primary product exports
7. In the direction of manufacturing?
8. Markets and African entrepreneurship
9. State capacity
10. Conclusion
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1. Advent

1This write-up asks exactly how the heritages of european rule, both generally and also in certain categories the colony, have affected post-colonial economic advancement in Sub-Saharan Africa. The year 1960 is conventionally used as the “stylised date” of independence, for the an excellent reason that it observed the finish of early american rule in many of the French colonies south that the Sahara as well as in the most populous British and Belgian ones (Nigeria and Congo respectively).1 half a century is a reasonable duration over i m sorry to review the economic influence of legacies because it enables us to consider the problem in the context of various phases the post-colonial policy and performance.


2The causal meaning of legacies varies, in the they impact subsequent liberty of manoeuvre to different extents and also in various directions. At its strongest, legacy takes the type of “path determination”, implying the colonial options determined post-colonial ones, or at least conditioned them, such that leave from the early american pattern was, and also perhaps remains, complicated and costly. Besides asking around the toughness of the influence of the previous on the future, we require to think about the nature of that influence. Did early american rule put African countries on a greater or reduced path of financial change? It will certainly be argued here that the “path(s)” on i m sorry African economic climates were (to a better or lesser extent) set by the moment of freedom are many usefully viewed not together necessarily initiated in the early american period, but often rather as continuations and also adjustments from routes of readjust established prior to the europe partition that the continent.

3The following discussion has three preliminary sections. Thus, chapter 2 first attempts a review of the economic record because independence in stimulate to specify the pattern for which colonial legacies may have been partially responsible. Thing 3 outlines competing views of those legacies. Thing 4 make the efforts to specify the economic and political structures and also trends within Africa on the night of the european partition of the continent. It identify an emerging African comparative benefit in land-extensive forms of production, i beg your pardon West africans in specific were already exploiting and, by your investments and initiatives, deepening.

4In this framework, thing 5 climate introduces the early american regimes, highlighting your fiscal constraints and comparing different national layouts of early american rule, focusing on the largest empires, those the Britain and France. That is a design template of this essay, however, that one more kind that variation in between colonies was much more important, i.e. That characterized by the level and type of european appropriation and use that land: “settler”, “plantation” and also “peasant” colonies. Chapter 6 considers exactly how far colonial rule (and the plot of European suppliers that it facilitated) reinforced the introduction of a comparative benefit in land-extensive main exports and looks in ~ the after-effects of this because that the welfare the the population. Thing 7 explores colonial contributions, and their limits, for the really long-term change of African factor endowments from work scarcity towards work abundance and a relatively high level of human capital formation, such as assisted Tokugawa Japan, and much more recently various other parts that Asia, to achieve “labour-intensive industrialisation” (Sugihara 2007). Chapter 8 assesses the influence of various kinds the European regimen on afri entrepreneurship and also on institutions facilitating, hindering or channelling african participation in markets. Chapter 9 completes the substantive conversation by commenting top top the long-term effects of the early american intrusion ~ above the volume of the State in Africa because that facilitating and promoting economic development.

2. Post-colonial readjust and sport

5Notoriously, calculation per head in Sub-Saharan Africa is the shortest of any significant world region and has, on average, increased slowly and also haltingly because 1960. However there have actually been necessary changes, and variations over space, in policy and performance. In policy, structural adjustment in the 1980s marked a watershed: a basic shift from governmental to market method of source allocation. The change, however, was much less dramatic in many of the previous French colonies, where (except in Guinea) the maintain of a convertible money had allowed governments to avoid some of the supplementary price and also quantity controls which had actually increasingly been enforced in the mostly former British swarms outside the france zone. In performance, accumulation economic expansion rates in the an ar were pretty respectable till 1973-75 (Jerven 2009). Ironically, in the te or so complying with the fostering of structural adjustment they were stagnant or negative, prior to the Chinese-led eight in people commodity price eased the region into 12 year of gross residential product (GDP) expansion at an typical of 5% a year before the dilemmas of 2007 (rising fuel and also food prices, then the start of the international financial crisis) and also 2008 brought around a “great recession” in 2009 (IMF 2009).


1 because that a general account view Rimmer (1992, esp. 5, 228).

6There were remarkable exceptions to the general development trends, both before and also after the turning-point in the at an early stage to mid-1970s. Côte d’Ivoire and also Ghana do a particularly interesting contrast: similarly-sized neighbors with relatively similar variable endowments and also geographical features, but with different early american heritages. Côte d’Ivoire underwent what can loosely be defined as a enhanced version of the standard expansion trajectory. It averaged an yearly GDP growth of 9.5% from 1960 to 1978 (Berthélemy and also Söderling 2001, 324-5) but then had actually several year of stagnation complied with by civil war. Meanwhile, Ghana did virtually the opposite. Ghanaian GDP per capita to be barely greater in 1983, once it began structural adjustment, than at independence in 1957.1 However, as one of the two most successful instances of structural adjustment in Africa (the various other being Uganda), Ghana averaged nearly 5% yearly growth throughout the quarter-century after ~ 1983. Thus, roughly, while Côte d’Ivoire was rising Ghana was falling, and vice versa. Only one Sub-Saharan economy, Botswana, sustained growth over three, without doubt four, decades due to the fact that its independence, which was in 1966. Botswana averaged 9.3% annual growth (Berthélemy and Söderling 2001, 324-5).


2 because that Africanist commentaries watch Austin (2008b) and Hopkins (2009).

7A attribute of the theoretical and ideological debate about the history of economic advancement in Africa is that it is feasible to reach rather similar conclusions from really different scholarly and political starting-points. Concerning the colonial impact, the case for the prosecution, i beg your pardon a generation earlier was urged most strongly by suspended theorists and radical nationalists (Amin 1972; Rodney 1972), is now championed by “rational choice” expansion economists. Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson and also James A. Robinson (2001; 2002) have suggested that Africa’s relative poverty at the end of the 20th century was mostly the result of the form taken by European manifest destiny on the continent: europeans settling because that extraction fairly than settling themselves in overwhelming numbers and also thereby presenting the kinds of institution (private building rights and also systems of government that would assistance them) that, according to Acemoglu, Johnson and also Robinson, was responsible for economic breakthrough in Europe and also the nests of European settlement in phibìc America and Australasia.2


8Colonial extraction in Africa might be seen many decisively in the appropriation the land for European inhabitants or plantations, a strategy offered not only to provide European investors and settlers with cheap and secure regulate of land, but likewise to oblige afri to offer their labour to europe farmers, planters or mine-owners (Palmer and Parsons 1977). Also in the “peasant” colonies, i.e. Where the land stayed overwhelmingly in african ownership, we will view that significant parts of the services sector were efficiently monopolised by Europeans. Climate there to be coercive recruitment of labour by early american administrations, even if it is to work for the State or for European exclusive enterprise (Fall 1993; Northrup 1988). That potentially great long-term importance was the unwillingness of colonial governments come accept, still much less promote, the appearance of sectors in land civil liberties on land populated by Africans, even if it is in “settler” or “peasant” swarms (Phillips 1989). Native the perspectives that both suspended theory and “rational choice” institutionalism, the initial sin of colonialism in Africa was the it did not introduce a full-blooded capitalist system, based upon personal property and thereby generating the pressures in the direction of competition and build-up necessary to drive self-sustained financial growth.

9A narrower yet important debate was made by the then small group the liberal advance economists between the 1950s and also 1970s. In ~ a time when advancement economists (especially yet not exclusively those composing in French) tended to favour a leading duty for the State in the search for advance in mixed economies (Hugon 1993; Killick 1978) P. T. Bauer (1953; 1972) struck the late early american State for presenting statutory marketing boards and also thereby laying the foundation of what he considered to it is in deadening State interventionism.

10Explicitly hopeful overviews of colonial rule in Africa space rare (but watch Duignan and Gann 1975). Many studies, though, cite the suppression of intra-African warfare, the abolition of interior slave trading and slavery, the introduction of mechanised transport and investment in infrastructure, and also the advancement of modern manufacturing in the “settler” economies and also in the Belgian Congo. Excited by the late 20th century tide of economic “globalisation”, some financial liberals have argued that the British empire pioneered the process through its general opposition to tariff defense (1846-1931) and by other pro-market steps (Ferguson 2003; Lal 2004). With respect come tariffs, this case would use less strong to French colonies because of the protectionism that the French empire. The is also much less true the the last 30 years of British preeminence in Africa, which witnessed not just tariffs but also the production of marketing boards. Indigenous the perspective of institutional change, a an essential observation applicable come the an ar generally to be highlighted by man Sender and also Sheila blacksmith (1986). Composing in the “tragic optimist” tradition of Marx’s works on British ascendancy in India, lock emphasised the wage labour was rare at the beginning of early american rule and increasingly usual by the finish of it. Because that them, as for invoice Warren (1980), imperialism to be the “pioneer that capitalism”.

11Besides optimism and also pessimism, a third view of early american rule, and by implicitly of its legacy, is the its importance has actually been over-rated. Over there are various routes to this conclusion. Countless historians room struck by the brevity of colonial rule southern of the Sahara, i.e. Around 60 years in most of tropical Africa (Ajayi 1969), and also by the weak of the early american State (Herbst 2000). In this setting it can plausibly be said that everything went fine in the “peasant” economic climates (and cash crop economies expanded greatly) was greatly the duty of Africans, with their economic rationality and entrepreneurship, a position epitomised by Polly Hill (1997). Much more ambivalent space the disagreements of Jean-François Bayart (1989; 2000). Structure on the familiar observation the rulers in Africa have actually usually discovered it tough to raise huge revenues from residential sources, Bayart argues that, during colonial rule and also since, african elites came to be clients of early american or abroad States. Thereby they forged connections which, though unequal, services themselves as well as the foreigners. Vice versa, dependency concept emphasised the primacy of foreign agency in determining historical outcomes, Bayart insists that African elites play a calculating and vital role in developing the “extraverted” pattern of african political economy.

4. A pre-colonial view on early american legacies

12To advice the early american legacy, we need to identify it indigenous the situation and trends at the start of early american rule, which in most of Sub-Saharan Africa arisen during the europe “Scramble”, indigenous 1879 come circa 1905. At that time the an ar was, as before, qualified generally (not everywhere all the time) by wealth of cultivable floor in relationship to the labour available to till it (Hopkins 1973; Austin 2008a). This walk not typical “resource abundance” as much of Africa’s mineral endowment was either unknown or inaccessible v pre-industrial modern technology or was not yet an useful even overseas. Because that example, numerous of the significant discoveries (notably of oil in Nigeria and also diamonds in Botswana) were to happen only throughout the period of decolonisation. Moreover, the fertility of lot of the soil was reasonably low or at least fragile, make it costly or complicated to pursue intensive cultivation, especially in the lack of pet manure. Sleeping sickness prevent the use of huge animals, whether because that ploughing or transport, in the woodland zones and also much of the savannas. The too much seasonality of the annual distribution that rainfall rendered much of the dry season efficiently unavailable for farm yard work. The consequent low opportunity cost of dry-season labour lessened the motivation to raise work productivity in craft production. Conversely, the characteristic selections of farming approaches were land-extensive and labour-saving; yet the thinness that the soils constrained the return on work (Austin 2008a). All this helps to describe why the performance of African labour was apparently greater outside Africa over number of centuries, cf. The underlying economic logic the the external slave trades i m sorry in turn, ironically, aggravated the scarcity of work within Africa itself (Austin 2008b; Manning 1990).

13Within Africa, the structure of incentives urged a high degree of self-sufficiency, and by the middle of the 20th century the was widely assumed that pre-colonial economic climates had necessarily to be overwhelmingly subsistence-oriented. The critical half-century that research has progressively readjusted this assessment, particularly for West Africa where a strong tendency towards extra-subsistence manufacturing was evident in the 16th and also 17th centuries. While damaged through the aggravated “Dutch disease” impacts of the Atlantic slave trade (Inikori 2007; Austin, forthcoming), this tendency was strong resumed indigenous the very first decade of the 19th century when that trade started to be abolished, with West Africans developing on a wider and larger scale for internal and overseas markets. Provided the loved one scarcity the labour, and also in the lack (generally) of significant economies of range in production, that was rarely for the reservation wage (the minimum fairy rate adequate to persuade people to offer their work rather than work for themselves) to be low enough for a would-be employee to bought to salary it. Thus the labour sectors of pre-colonial Africa mainly took the type of slave trading (Austin 2005, chapters 6, 8; Austin 2008a).

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14The exact same abundance of soil made political centralisation difficult to achieve and sustain (Herbst 2000). Politics fragmentation had facilitated the Atlantic servant trade, in that larger States would have had actually stronger incentives and capacities because that rejecting joining in that (Inikori 2003). This fragmentation later assisted in the european conquest. Ethiopia was the exemption that confirmed the rule, through its fertile main provinces and huge agricultural surplus supporting a long-established and also modernising State that, alone in Africa, had actually the economic base to stand up to the “Scramble” successfully.