Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Ghana Capability Team, Samba Diop, Mali Capability Team


The globalization process constantly spawns new ideas, and researchers are generally willing to share and adapt them. It can be recalled that UNDP report no. 1/1990 saw the basic objective of human development as the enlargement of the range of people’s choices, which are not fixed forever. There have been many approaches to the study of human development. For instance, Classical Economics measures human development using the size of a country’s GDP or per capita income. The Welfare Approach uses income and consumption. The Utilitarian Approach focuses on happiness, good and pleasure, while the Basic Needs Approach measures access to water, shelter, food and sanitation, among others. It is impressive that, just ten years later, Amartya Sen managed to pull all these ideas together into a single framework called the Capability Approach. This new concept of measuring human development focuses on freedom as development. Although nowadays widely known, the Capability Approach is still rarely used in population studies and policies, and this is especially true for Africa. This volume is therefore welcome, but in addition it is timely, and this for at least two reasons.


Capability Approach; Population studies; Africa

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