This paper is a contribution to a project directed by the author on the 'Nature, significance and determinants of the flexibility of national economies'.
The paper concludes that whilst it is dangerous to offer continent-wide generalisations (and sub-Saharan Africa by no means offers a uniformly adverse situation), the evidence marshalled here indicates:
- a generally low degree of economic flexibility;
- a slow pace of modernising structural change;
- a rather adverse record with 'structural adjustment';
- a poor revealed ability to take advantage of trading opportunities;
- a similarly laggard response to technological advances;
- low supply elasticity in agriculture.
The paper also demonstrates that these factors interact with each other, so that in combination they have a powerful sclerotic effect.