The European Business Council for Africa

The father of development economics and the father of African nationalism did not take long to fall out. Arthur Lewis had made his name studying industrial revolutions. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first prime minister, had made his resisting British rule. On independence in 1957 Nkrumah invited Lewis to be his adviser.

It seemed a wise pick. Lewis was astute, respected, and trusted in anti-colonial circles. Later, he would win a Nobel prize for economics (the first black person to do so). In a landmark paper, he argued that in developing economies people were poor because they were in the wrong jobs: move them from subsistence farms into factories and commercial farms and the economy would grow.

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