Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Yi Feng

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Sallama Shaker

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

Norvell Thomas 2020


Developing countries are often at risk of falling into a poverty trap, whereby economic growth and prosperity is thwarted due to both endogenous and exogenous factors, including limited access to capital, poor infrastructure, low education levels, corruption, and many others. This is particularly true for many African nations that are now emerging from centuries of colonial rule and are attempting to find a path forward to obtain peace, economic growth, and overall prosperity. The goal of this dissertation is to identify the principal factors of what can assist poorer nations in becoming more prosperous. Based on the neoclassical economic growth model (Barro & Lee, 2015) ), I developed a model to account for the effect of multidimensional factors of gender equality, fertility rate and Africa’s specific opportunity to economic growth. The model will be helpful to explain how gender equality, human capital, and fertility rates serve as essential factors in economic growth and prosperity for African states. Based on this model, I attempt to provide a path forward for African countries to allocate resources to those components that will maximise their chances of success in achieving overall prosperity. Based on this model, gender equality and a high fertility rate provide an opportunity for prosperous African countries. I also offer an in- depth analysis of cases of Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia in qualitative support for my argument.