Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Mathematical Sciences: Business Analytics

First Advisor

Sam Woolford

Second Advisor

Dominique M. Haughton

Third Advisor

Mike Quinn


This research study sets out to provide analytical answers to the questions of African development and inequality. We examine various aspects of development from the issue of inequality among African countries to unravelling the synergies among the MDG goals and finally to investigating the progress if any that African countries have made towards attaining the MDG goals.

This research is broken down into three main studies: measuring inequality of opportunity, examining the synergies between the Millennium development goals at a particular point in time and lastly assessing the progress that has been made towards attaining the MDG goals in Africa. There are five main objectives of this research. First, to provide a detailed exploration and analysis of development in Africa. Second, to estimate and measure the inequality of opportunity for children in African countries. Third, to analytically answer the question of linkages of the MDGs and in so doing identify the goals that can be prioritized by African countries. Fourth, to assess the progress that African countries have made towards attaining the MDG goals. Finally, provide policy recommendations that would enhance growth and development in Africa.

This research study applies novel methodologies to the study of African development by employing methodologies such as Kohonen maps and directed acyclic graphs. We expand an existing Human Opportunity Index (HOI), developed by Barros et al and which has only been applied to Latin America and the Caribbean, to the African continent. We identify the existence of linkages between the Millennium Development Goals at particular points in time through the use of directed acyclic graphs and structural equation modelling. The linkages identified allow us to highlight select MDG goals that can be prioritized by African countries. Focusing on these select goals would in turn have a cascading effect on other goals. We are able to identify substantial differences within Africa which separate the northern and southern regions from the central, eastern and western regions patterns in development within Africa. Finally, we propose a one dimensional Kohonen map to obtain a ranking of African countries with regard to MDG progress and achievement.