DP5932 Lost Decades: Lessons from Post-Independence Latin America for Today's Africa

Author(s): Robert H Bates, John H Coatsworth, Jeffrey G Williamson
Publication Date: November 2006
Keyword(s): Africa, development, economic history, Latin America, lost decades
JEL(s): N0, O10, O54, O55
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5932

Africa and Latin America secured their independence from European colonial rule a century and half apart: most of Latin America after 1820 and most of Africa after 1960. Despite the distance in time and space, they share important similarities. In each case independence was followed by political instability, violent conflict and economic stagnation lasting for about a half-century (lost decades). The parallels suggest that Africa might be exiting from a period of post-imperial collapse and entering a period of relative political stability and economic growth, as did Latin America a century and a half earlier.