Educational Expansion in Africa (1965-2010): Implications for Economic Inequality between Countries

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Sarah Giroux, Michel Tenikue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Education is presumed to be a growth factor and a great equalizer. From that perspective, an expansion of schooling in Africa should promote economic convergence between countries of this region. We test this hypothesis and explore which aspect of schooling -quantity or quality- matters most. Using existing national statistics, we decompose the change in between-country inequality during the 1965-2010 period into the influences of demographic, economic, and schooling forces. The analyses show a 50% rise in GDP inequality during the study period, with some of the divergence stemming from differences in population trends (18%) and total factor productivity (33%). Remarkably, nearly half of the divergence was associated with trends in education. Quality, rather than quantity of schooling, was more influential in reducing inequality. Such findings qualify the importance of mere enrollments, and they support concern that Africa’s gains in enrollment must not be secured at the expense of quality
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and Development
Subtitle of host publicationOutcimes for Equality and Governance in Africa
EditorsM. Ndulo , N. Assié-Lumumba
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-303-040566-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-40565-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Education
  • Africa
  • decomposition methods
  • income inequality
  • school quality

Cite this

Eloundou-Enyegue, P., Giroux, S., & Tenikue, M. (2020). Educational Expansion in Africa (1965-2010): Implications for Economic Inequality between Countries. In M. Ndulo , & N. Assié-Lumumba (Eds.), Education and Development: Outcimes for Equality and Governance in Africa (pp. 25-45). Palgrave Macmillan.