Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Ellen Foster




growth, economic, africa, health, levels


Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced low growth rates over the past half century. The average economic growth per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa for the past 20 years had been less than one percent a year. This had resulted in poor living standards, and high levels of poverty throughout the continent. Economics have debated for decades over the reason for the low growth rates. This paper constructs a model to explain economic growth per capita for the years 1995-2006. The model takes into account human capital, attitude towards investment, government transparency, population growth, geography and health. I am able to show the essential and significant role health plays in determining long term economic growth. This implies that investing in health does not only increase the quality of life for people in Africa, but is a long term investment that is essential for economic growth of African nations. In addition, this paper examines the nation of Botswana and how it has experienced exceedingly high levels of growth while suffering from some of the highest levels of disease prevalence in the world. This paper attributes Botswana economic success to infrastructure that was installed before the onset of the country’s AIDS epidemic.