…much of the improvement in economic performance in Africa after 1995 is attributable to a substantial increase in the frequency and country coverage of growth accelerations combined with reductions in the frequency and severity of growth decelerations. We also find that growth accelerations have not been evenly distributed across countries. Resource-rich economies have had a significantly higher frequency of growth accelerations than non-resource-rich economies.
…We find little evidence to support the view that significant changes in investment, trade or macroeconomic management underpin the increased frequency of growth accelerations. We also find little evidence that better policies and institutions have spurred growth accelerations, although they appear to be associated with fewer growth declines in resource poor economies. This raises important questions with respect to the durability of Africa’s growth performance.
That is Jorge Arbache and John Page writing in the latest Journal of African Economies (freely downloaded).