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African Economic Development – Spring 2019

Course Number: ECON 347

Course Attributes: R, SS, W

Course Description: 

Today, Africa presents two seemingly contradictory faces. As a continent, the economy has been growing briskly. It is in process of transformation with modern infrastructure and glittering megacities. Investors from Europe, China and elsewhere flock to Africa. Yet, in the South of Sahel, about 40% of the population remains in stinging poverty, deprived of many basic needs such as education, healthcare, and electricity. Ethnic and religious contestations continue to create an undercurrent of social and political instability, and malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases take an unacceptably large number of lives. While the African economy is still small relative to the rest of the world, Africa’s future – the “last frontier” of the global economy – cannot be ignored. This course studies economic development in sub-Saharan Africa since independence, with a focus on challenges that the continent faces at present in shaping an inclusive future. It will be taught from the perspectives of policymaker and practitioner, supported by the relevant academic literature.
Hiro HinoFaculty Biography:
Prof. Hiroyuki Hino, a native of Japan, began his professional career as an economist in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1975, after receiving his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Rochester. At the IMF, he held various positions, including Division Chief and Assistant Director in the Policy Development and Review Department; Resident Representative to the Philippines; Assistant Director and Senior Advisor in the African Department; and finally, Director of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. During his tenure at the IMF, he participated in the formation of IMF policies on the external indebtedness of developing countries and the establishment of the IMF lending facility for low-income countries. In addition, he took part in negotiations of the IMF financial assistance program with a number of countries, including Thailand, India, China, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Nigeria. He retired from the IMF in 2006 and returned to Japan.
Back in Japan, Hino joined Kobe University as Professor of Economics at its Research Institute of Economics and Business Administration (RIEB). He was commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2007 to undertake a large-scale, interdisciplinary study of “Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa”. He established a team of prominent scholars in economics, history, political science, and anthropology from Africa, Europe, the US, and Japan to undertake this task. The study’s main findings were published as a collective volume (Hino et al, Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa: Inter-Disciplinary Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, 2012). He was also commissioned by JICA in 2011 to conduct a comprehensive study on the Challenges of Youth and Employment in Africa as the background for the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) in 2013. The report’s summary was presented as a Policy Brief in a TICAD high-level panel discussion; the panelists consisted of the Presidents of three African countries (South Africa, Tanzania, and Gabon) and three development agencies (the World Bank, African Development Bank and JICA), as well as the Executive Director of J-PAL at MIT. The papers prepared for this study were published as a collective volume (Hino and Ranis, Youth and Employment in Sub-Sahara Africa: Working But Poor, Routledge 2013). Hino retired from Kobe University in 2015 and continues to hold an honorary position of Research Fellow.
Hino was the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kenya during 2009–2013 and the Senior Advisor to the Presidency of Kenya for Strategic Initiatives and Economy during 2013–2014 on special assignment from Kobe University and as a JICA expert. During these periods, he was involved in a wide range of economic policy issues, including unemployment, devolution, drought emergency, promotion of renewable energy, sustainability of natural resources, and others. In addition, he carefully studied the issues of ethnicity, horizontal inequality and social cohesion in Kenya, supporting a major study by the Kenya Institute of Public Policy, Research, and Analysis (KIPPRA).
After completing his assignments in Kenya, Hino moved to Yale University as a Visiting Professor (2014–2015), where he taught a course on the challenges of Africa’s economic transformation. He subsequently moved to the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a Visiting Professor at the Southern Africa Labour & Development Research Unit (SALDRU), a position he still holds. At UCT, he took part in its Poverty and Inequality Initiative (PII) and engaged in research on poverty, inequality and social cohesion in South Africa and, more broadly, in sub-Saharan Africa. His most recent work in this area is presented in a SALDRU working paper, “Identity, Inequality and Social Contestation in the Post-Apartheid South Africa”, for which he is a co-author: http://www.opensaldru.uct.ac.za/handle/11090/946(link is external). This paper will be published as a chapter in Hino et al, From Divided Pasts to Cohesive Futures? Reflections on Africa, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
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