Economics Africa

Course description Economics Africa
Year: 2016-2017
Catalog number: 5182KE41
  • Dr. S. Bellucci
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 5
Level: 200
Period: Semester 1, Block I, II
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • Yes Exchange
  • Yes Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


This course will equip the students with a broad general understanding of African economics, as well as providing more in-depth knowledge on relevant dynamics in contemporary African economics.
The study of economics in Africa will offer students insights into the continent from the perspective of global economics. The imbalance between the global North and South are not a “natural” event, but rather are the result of a long history of capitalist development. Africa, African societies and African countries have been and remain the protagonists of this global history. In particular, the inreasing dominance of external capitalist interests – which explains to a large degree the disparity in wealth between European societies and African ones – has impacted on the resource-rich African continent.
The following is a list of issues that will be covered in this course:
• Introduction to African economics
• History of African economic development
• Reading and understanding African statistics
• International financial institutions: IMF, World Bank, etc.
• The economics of poverty
• Agriculture production
• Aid and trade
• Employment and labour
• Environmental political economy
• Globalization and Africa
• Human and social development
• Industrialization and infrastructure
• Macroeconomics and finance

Course objectives

In Africa, as elsewhere, society, culture, politics, sport, music, etc. are dominated by the pull of economics. But what is the nature of (African) economics? To answer this question, it is crucial to understand how capitalist economics works.
The main objective of this course is to make students aware that economics is not a field that can be left to “specialists”, because economic choices and policies have direct consequences on societies. In all studies and/or work relating to Africa, a firm grasp of the “economic discourse” is crucial. Through economics, we can explain a great deal of what is going on in the African continent, both in positive terms, such as, for example, growth, health improvements, etc. and in negative terms, such as conflicts, inequalities, etc.
Economic policies have to address simple needs in often complex ways, in the context of competing political agendas. To become knowledgeable about economics, students must place particular attention on the functioning of the markets (labour, goods, financial etc.). The course will highlight the different economic policies that African governments, private actors and societies have adopted in order to address questions raised by the complex relationship between markets and society.
Finally, it is difficult to study African economic systems without adopting an interdisciplinary approach. The course will equip students with a methodology that provides a means to link the study of economics to developments in history and politics, both global and local.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; tri-weekly tutorials.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:
• Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs
• Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per three weeks: 8 hrs
• Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs
• Time for studying the compulsory literature: 68 hrs
• Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)
    Final exam:
  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice) and written examination with short open questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

• Michael P. Todaro & Stephen C. Smith, Economic Development (12th Edition), Pearson, 2015
• Further material (digital, statistical, written and video) will be distributed during the course and uploaded on Blackboard


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For tutorials
Dr. S. Bellucci