This is the introductory article for a special issue edited by Irene van Staveren, Abena Oduro and Caren Grown. Abstract: Despite Africa's relatively commendable growth performance since 2000, growth has not been accompanied by structural transformations. First, there has been little diversification from agriculture into industry, particularly manufacturing. Second, the poverty headcount and inequality remain high in many countries, even as African countries continue to rank lowest on the United Nations Development Programme's Gender Inequality Index. This contribution goes beyond the individualistic approach of supply-side policies and unveils deeper mechanisms that need to be tackled for the two transformations (diversification and inequality reduction) to occur. It demonstrates that gender inequality relies on unwritten but dominant social norms, hence, informal institutions. The removal of formal legislation that constrains women's agency, the enactment of formal laws, and the implementation of economic policies designed specifically to create incentives for behavior change are recommended.
Bibliographical noteSee for a report on one of the articles in the special issue by The Economist: