Is Poverty in the African DNA (Gene)?

South African Journal of Economics, 85(4), pp. 533–552.

31 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2015 Last revised: 16 Dec 2017

See all articles by Simplice Asongu

Simplice Asongu

African Governance and Development Institute

Oasis Kodila-Tedika

University of Kinshasa - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 21, 2015

Abstract

A 2015 World Bank report on attainment of Millennium Development Goals concludes that the number of extremely poor has dropped substantially in all regions with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa. We assess if poverty is in the African gene by revisiting the findings of Ashraf and Galor (2013, AER) and reformulating the ‘Out of Africa Hypothesis’ into a ‘Genetic Diversity Hypothesis’ for a ‘Within Africa Analysis’. We motivate this reformulation with five shortcomings arising for the most part from the 2015 findings of the African Gerome Variation Project, notably: limitations in the concept of space, African dummy in genetic diversity, linearity in migratory patterns, migratory origins and underpinnings of genetic diversity in Africa. Ashraf and Galor have concluded that cross-country differences in development can be explained by genetic diversity in a Kuznets pattern. Our results from an exclusive African perspective confirm the underlying hypothesis in a contemporary context, but not in the historical analysis. From a historical context, the nexus is U-shaped for migratory distance, mobility index and predicted diversity while for the contemporary analysis; it is hump-shaped for ancestry-adjusted predicted diversity. Hence, poverty is not in the African gene from a within-Africa comparative standpoint. Policy implications are discussed.

Keywords: Africa; Genetic diversity; Comparative economic development

JEL Classification: N10; N30 ; N50; O10; O50; Z10

Suggested Citation

Asongu, Simplice and Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, Is Poverty in the African DNA (Gene)? (April 21, 2015). South African Journal of Economics, 85(4), pp. 533–552.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2597027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2597027

Simplice Asongu (Contact Author)

African Governance and Development Institute ( email )

P.O. Box 8413
Yaoundé, 8413
Cameroon

Oasis Kodila-Tedika

University of Kinshasa - Department of Economics ( email )

Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of the Congo

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