Gaaitzen de Vries: 'Structural Change in Africa: 1960-2010'

On October 22nd, Gaaitzen de Vries, Assistant Professor at University of Groningen, will give a lecture on this recent paper 'Structural Change in Africa: 1960-2010'

Organisator Rural and Environmental History

di 22 oktober 2013 12:30 tot 14:00

Locatie Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen
Zaal/kamer C63

Gaaitzen de Vries is assistant professor at the University of Groningen, and a fellow of the Groningen Growth and Development Centre. His current research activities are related to the World Input-Output Database project (wiod.org) and the World KLEMS project (worldklems.net). These projects provide large datasets for the analysis of economic and productivity growth, global production networks, and economic development. His current research interests deal with international trade and employment, international product fragmentation, and structural transformation in the BRIC countries.

Structural Change in Africa: 1960-2010

Gaaitzen J. de Vries, Klaas de Vries, Marcel P. Timmer

Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen


This paper examines growth in Africa since 1960. We present a novel database, the Africa Sector Database, with annual time series of value added and persons employed for the ten main sectors of the economy. The dataset covers 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa spanning the period from 1960 to 2010. It is based on an in-depth country-by-country study of available statistics and careful linking procedures to ensure internal, intertemporal and international consistency. Structural change, defined as the reallocation of labour across sectors, was sluggish until the 1990s. Since 1990 we find that workers reallocate to above-average productivity sectors, but with below-average productivity growth. We also show that African labour productivity levels in manufacturing are increasingly falling behind the world frontier and faster than other sectors. It dropped from 21 per cent in 1980 to 8 per cent in 2010. The scope for catch-up growth is higher than ever. 

Corresponding author:

Gaaitzen J. de Vries
Assistant professor
Groningen Growth and Development Centre
Faculty of Economics and Business
University of Groningen
The Netherlands
e-mail: g.j.de.vries@rug.nl

The research on which this paper is based is part of the ‘Structural Change and Productivity Growth in Africa’ project. This project is financed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) as part of the DFID/ESRC Growth program, grant agreement ES/J00960/1.

You can register for this lecture by sending an e-mail to the Rural and Environmental History Group.