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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses Africa’s political economy in the contemporary era. It begins with an overview of various theories, models and debates that address African economic performance before turning to a discussion of the interrelationships between institutions, politics, and economic change. It then proceeds with an analysis of the politics of economic change in Africa following years of colonization; how the development strategies charted at independence came under stress from internal and global factors in the 1970s; the shifts in development strategy and policy orientation that African states went through in the 1980s; the influence of political reform and democratization on the trajectory of African economies during the 1990s; and the acceleration of economic growth in many African countries in the twenty-first century. Finally, the article assesses African economies under the contemporary period in which enhanced performance and a more propitious context create opportunities for a shift in developmental trajectories.

Keywords: Africa, political economy, economic performance, institutions, politics, economic change, development, political reform, democratization, economic growth

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