JICA Research Institute

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Books and Reports

Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Ethnic diversity is generally assumed a contributor to poor economic growth and economic instability in Africa. Due to the lack of empirical evidence available, the subject of ethnicity and its impact on the market economy in Africa has long interested a wide range of scholars from various interdisciplinary fields, including economics, political science, history, anthropology, and law.

In the search for an answer to this question about the relation between ethnic diversity and economic performance in Africa, the JICA Research Institute adopted “Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa” as one of its flagship research projects upon its establishment in October 2008. The project was organized in collaboration with the Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration of Kobe University, which involved a research team of internationally renowned scholars from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

This book is an outcome of that research. In the book, the authors state that ethnicity and economic development are mutually dependent with no simple, one-way causal relation as commonly assumed in development economics. They also contend that ethnic differences do not necessarily lead to inter-group conflict but become the focus of inter-group strife only when horizontal inequalities are high.

This volume is the first in a series of publications produced by the project and was followed by “How Can Africa Flourish with Ethnic Diversity? Synopsis of the Fifth Kobe University/JICA Conference on Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa” published in 2013.

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