Workshop on African History and Economics Series

The Center for African Studies and The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research partnered to launch the Workshop on African History and Economics (WAHE). Professor of History and of African and African American Studies and CAS Faculty Director, Emmanuel Akyeampong, and Nathan Nunn, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, serve as facilitators of the conference series. WAHE seeks to examine African economies from a historical standpoint, honing in on two trends: "the development of the 'New Economic History' with its tendency for comparative studies of regional economic performance; and a new emphasis on longue durée studies in African history." WAHE creates a dialogue that draws from the research agendas of academic researchers, development experts, policy makers, and African entrepreneurs, while prioritizing graduate research focused on African economics and economic/business history.

The past decade or two has witnessed the rise of the New Economic History with comparative studies of economic performance that have juxtaposed Africa side by side with other world regions. The result has been to draw Africa into comparative analysis without Africa driving the research agenda. This intersects with growing interest in emerging economies and in Africa’s recent growth acceleration, the dynamics of which are not well understood. The New Economic History has drawn attention to the importance of institutions and underscored the reality that Africa’s growth and development challenges are among other things a crises of institutions. Africa has caught the attention of Western financial institutions.

African countries have begun to investigate ways to target academic training towards the needs of industry. African policy makers and business people have turned to the academic community for insight, and we believe Harvard should be at the forefront of the production of knowledge about Africa’s economies in the 21st century. This workshop seeks to provide a forum for cutting edge work on African economic history and economics, and to facilitate dialogue between academic researchers, international development agencies and policy makers, and business people.


  • Emmanuel Akyeampong
    Professor of History and of African and African American Studies (FAS)
    Faculty Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies

  • Nathan Nunn
    Professor of Economics (FAS)

  • Chambi Chachage
    PhD candidate in African and African American Studies, Harvard University

  • Mark Duerksen
    PhD candidate in African and African American Studies, Harvard University

  • Sara Lowes
    PhD candidate in Political Economy and Government, Harvard University

  • Eduardo Montero
    PhD candidate in Economics, Harvard University

  • Liang Xu
    PhD candidate in African History, Harvard University


  • Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies Events
  • Harvard Department of African and African American Studies Events

  • Harvard Department of Economics Events

  • Harvard History Department Events

  • Harvard Hutchins Center for African and African American Research Events

  • Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Events

  • Harvard Business School Africa Business Conference 
    The Africa Business Conference is the world’s largest student-run event focused on business in Africa. The conference brings together an impressive array of African students and business professionals from around the world and provides an exceptional networking opportunity for business and community leaders, current and prospective Harvard MBA students and alumni, students from other graduate programs and educators from around the world.

  • Harvard University African Development Conference 
    The annual Harvard University African Development Conference brings together policy makers, innovative business leaders, accomplished academics, leaders of civil society organizations and other distinguished individuals to foster productive dialogue about Africa's future. The conference endeavors to move beyond raising awareness about the challenges facing Africa by highlighting innovative thinking and promoting those who are working to effect real change in their country or throughout the continent.

  • African Economic History
    An annual journal published by the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that “focuses on recent economic change in Africa as well as the colonial and precolonial economic history of the continent.”

  • African Studies Review
    The principle journal of the African Studies Association (ASA). Includes the highest quality scholarship on Africa from across the disciplines.

  • Economic History of Developing Regions (formerly South African Journal of Economic History)
    Published biannually, Economic History of Developing Regions "promotes the study of economic change in the developing South, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. It provides an innovative research forum that explores the influence of historical events on economic development beyond the industrialized North."

  • History in Africa
    Journal published annually in September by the African Studies Association. Addresses “historiographical and methodological issues and publishes analysis and criticism, historiographical essays, bibliographical essays, archival reports and articles on the role of theory and non-historical data in historical investigation.”

  • Journal of African Economies
    The Journal of African Economies "is a vehicle to carry rigorous economic analysis, focused entirely on Africa, for Africans and anyone interested in the continent - be they consultants, policymakers, academics, traders, financiers, development agents or aid workers."

  • The Journal of African History
    The leading journal for historians of Africa, The Journal of African history (JAH) was established in 1960 and includes articles and book reviews ranging widely across time and space. Recent issues have explored diverse themes including labor and class, gender and sexuality, health and medicine, ethnicity and race, migration and diaspora, nationalism and state politics, religion and ritual, and technology and the environment.

  • African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
    Established in 1988, AERC "is a public not-for-profit organization devoted to the advancement of economic policy research and training. AERC's mission is to strengthen local capacity for conducting independent, rigorous inquiry into the problems facing the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa."

  • African History and Economics Network
    Founded in 2011, “the network is an initiative intended to foster communication, collaboration and research as well as teaching amongst scholars studying the economic history of sub-Saharan Africa, from the pre-colonial to the post-colonial era. The network publishes working papers in African Economic History and a newsletter.”

  • African School of Economics (ASE)
    Headquartered in Cononou, Benin, ASE "is the largest center for training and research in economics and management in Africa [...] ASE will offer a wide range of graduate degrees in Business Administration, Public and International Affairs, Quantitative Methods and Economics, and Development Studies, as well as executive degree programs."

  • Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE)
    An economic research centre at Oxford University that aims to improve African economic and social conditions through economic research and policy recommendations based on quantitative analysis. Datasets and papers are available on CSAE's website.

  • Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)
    Based in Dakar, Senegal, CODESRIA is an independent pan-Africa research organization dedicated to promoting and pioneering social science research in Africa.

  • Economic History Workshop at the Weatherhead Center
    The Economic History Workshop is an interdisciplinary offering of the Harvard Department of Economics that "has become an exceptionally important forum for economic historians in the greater Boston area, serving as a lively and deeply informative seminar for those interested in long-term economic change, economic growth, and development."

  • Joint Center for History and Economics at Harvard
    The Center “was established at Harvard in 2007 to promote research and education on subjects of importance for historians and economists, including the history of economic thought, economic history, and the application of economic concepts to historical problems. The objective of the Center is to encourage fundamental research in history, economics, and related disciplines. It also encourages the participation of historians and economists in addressing issues of public importance.”

  • Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard
    Led by Sven Berkert and Christine Desan, the Program on the Study of Capitalism seeks to “identify emerging approaches to political economy and to facilitate interdisciplinary thinking on this important topic among students and faculty at Harvard.”


Check back for additional information!