Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-6-40-51
V. Meliantsev,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Asian and African Studies, 11, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 103917, Russian Federation.

Received 12.03.2024. Revised 25.03.2024. Accepted 01.04.2024.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared as part of the research work of the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University on the topic “Asian and African countries in the world economy and international economic relations”.

Abstract. The author’s calculations and models show that although the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) suffered greatly as a result of the plunder of their human and natural resources by the countries of the West during the period of colonial oppression and the centuries-old era of the slave trade, they have managed – after they gained political independence – to achieve on the whole a number of positive socio-economic results. The gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) as a percentage of GDP has doubled, the average number of years of education of the adult population has increased six times, the average life expectancy at birth has augmented by one and a half times, and the human development index has risen by 2.5 times. However, since SSA countries are growing on average slowly and unsteadily, the gap between SSA and the advanced economies as well as many Asian developing countries (ADCs) by levels of development has enlarged significantly, and the total number of poor people in SSA has more than tripled over the past forty years, reaching 1 billion people. Besides the demographic dividend coefficient that is almost twice as low as in ADCs, the low dynamics of per capita GDP growth in SSA, according to our model, is associated by 1/3, 1/4 and 1/10, respectively, with the low rate of GFCF, low growth rates of exports (mainly raw materials), low level of social institutions. Since the assistance of the countries of the West is small and decreasing, and the capacity of markets in SSA countries is low, in order to avoid worsening the situation, they need to (a) increase the share of investments in physical and human capital in GDP at least one and a half times (including by reducing unproductive use of resources), (b) more actively develop intra-African cooperation and foreign economic relations with other developing countries and the Russian Federation, (c) rely on export-oriented industrialization (as SSA lags the most – 3–4 times – behind ADCs in terms of output growth rates of manufacturing industry).

Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, developed and developing countries, growth models, physical and human capital accumulation, institutions, productivity, debt, inequality, poverty, reforms, economic cooperation, development assistance


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For citation:
Mel'yantsev V. Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 6, pp. 40-51. EDN: SRNGGD

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