Thirty Years of Economic Growth in Africa

Project Info

Project Description

João Amador

Banco de Portugal
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

António R. dos Santos

Banco de Portugal
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

ISSN 2183-0843
Working Paper No 1802
August 2018


This paper examines the contribution of employment, capital accumulation and total factor productivity (TFP) to economic growth in African countries over the period 1986-2014. The methodology consists in the estimation of a translog dynamic stochastic production frontier for a set of 49 African economies, thus allowing for the breakdown of TFP along efficiency developments and technological progress. Although the heterogeneity amongst African countries poses a challenge to the estimation of a common production frontier, this is the best approach to perform cross-country comparisons. The results of our growth accounting exercise are more accurate for the contribution of input accumulation and TFP to GDP growth than for the separation between contributions of technological progress and efficiency. We conclude that economic growth patterns differ across African countries but they have been almost totally associated to input accumulation, notably in what concerns capital. The experience of Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa – the three largest African economies – confirms this pattern.

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