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“Does economics have an Africa problem?” – A rejoinder

Does Economics have an Africa problem? Yes, says Griewe Chelwa in a post for the blog Africa is a Country. Chelwa points out that the most important conferences on African economic development routinely are organized outside of Africa. He also notes that this extends to the composition of editorial boards of journals. Both the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of African Economies are guilty of having no members on their editorial boards who are based in Africa. Chelwa’s conclusion is devastating: “Economics as a discipline is sending a clear message: Africa cannot be a leading participant in the debates that ultimately shape its destiny.”

I offer my reflections in a post for African Arguments. Among other things I suggest that

it matters more how studies are done rather than who did them. I think that the economic discipline is guilty of doing research on Africa that ignores local context and is lacking in policy relevance. Moreover, as Gareth Austin has pointed out, because most models of economic development are derived from studies on Europe and the West, the toolbox of economists is conceptually Eurocentric. This is the subject of my forthcoming book: Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong.

Read the full post here.


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