History of African Economic Thought – Ibadan, Nigeria Conf., Apr. 2019

Dear all,

At the YSI Africa convening in Harare, Zimbabwe, in August 2018, we held a stream on the history of African economic thought, of which you will find the program attached. We received many interesting submissions from across Africa.

This has culminated in a project to promote research into the history of African economic thought at future conferences and through targeted publications. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.

The next milestone in this project is a conference in Ibadan, Nigeria, in April 2019, of which you will find the CfP below (deadline of submission is the 15th of January 2019). Along with the History of African Economic Thought specifically, lessons from the History of Economic Thought generally for Africa also feature among the themes of the conference.

Please do circulate the call in your networks — especially in Africa (beyond economics and history departments, this is also of interest to political scientists and scholars of African studies).

All the best,


University of Ibadan, Nigeria

10th – 12th April 2019

The debate around Africa’s development has been driven most prominently from outside the continent, preserving a de facto colonial status, while ignoring the complexity of its context. With development economics being more recently influenced by the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, corresponding policy recommendations have been imposed on African countries through conditionality for loans, grants and foreign direct investments. Concerns around these countries’ sustained specialization in commodities, uneven trade relations with the rest of the world, sustainability of its touted growth, premature de-industrialization and alarming rate of migration, have also prompted strong recommendations from the international community. But these recommendations have taken a simple approach to development such as the promotion of regional trade integration and liberal democracy, presumed to correct the uneven development that obtains both within the continent and with other regions. However, such conversations ignore discussions around historical sources of technological change, issues of distribution and ownership structures of wealth, financialization, labour and wages, imperfect competition with multinationals and monopolization by large scale corporations, among others. For this reason, development approaches for Africa are deemed deficient in their potential to deliver needed progress, prompting calls for re-thinking the continent’s development agenda.
This Call for Papers is aimed at re-visiting the debate on Africa’s development by drawing on alternative theories of growth including history of African economic thought. We invite submissions from young scholars using pluralist approaches, particularly with context-specific considerations of analysing economic development in Africa. Papers should aim to broaden the conversation on the causes of Africa’s lingering underdevelopment, radically challenge the existing development paradigm for Africa, provide innovative approaches to achieving its development while providing bold recommendations for policy. Submissions can be made to the Africa, Economic Development or History of Economic Thought working groups, under the following broad themes:

Alternative theories of economic development

Industrialization and structural transformation

Inequality and income distribution

Monetary policy, financial development and infrastructure financing

Institutions and the role of multilateral organisations

– History of (African) economic thought and implications for Africa’s development

Agrarian change and gender in Africa

Selected papers will be considered for publication in a Special Issue. A collection of papers that unravel the history of African economic thought will also be invited to contribute to another Special Issue which kick-starts a project that aims to show the contribution of Africans to economic thought. Papers that provide innovative development ideas for the African policy space will be given preference. The conference will host a publishing workshop for the Special Issue and to help young African academics develop their research for publication.

Limited travel grants are available for participants from other African countries. Applicants are expected to submit a 500 word abstract. Those applying for funding should also send a 1500-2000 word summary of their paper.

Key Dates

15th of January 2019 – Deadline for submissions

30th of January 2019 – Confirmation of acceptance and funding

15th of February 2019 – Deadline for sending full papers (8,000 to 12,000 words) for funded participants and those wishing to be considered for the proposed Special Issues.

28th February 2019 – Deadline for confirmation of travel arrangements and attendance.

Collaborators include YSI Africa, YSI Economic Development, YSI History of Economic Thought, University of Ibadan, Africa Regional Centre for Information Science, and the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER).

Abstracts should be submitted to [email protected].


History of African Economic Thought Sessions.pdf