This paper offers some econometric evidence on the sources of slow growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The evidence suggests that the continent's slow growth can be explained in an international cross-country framework, without the need to invoke a special explanation unique to Sub-Saharan Africa. We find that poor economic policies have played an especially important role in the slow growth, most importantly Africa's lack of openness to international markets. In addition, geographical factors such as lack of access to the sea and tropical climate have also contributed to Africa's slow growth.

Author notes

1 This is a substantially revised version of ‘Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies’, Development Discussion Paper No. 545, Harvard Institute for International Development, July 1996. We thank Malcolm McPherson, Steven Radelet, and Michael Roemer for helpful discussions.