This volume is drawn from final research papers developed under the auspices and support of the Thematic Research Programme of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). The AERC thematic research modality is a tried and tested method of capacity building in research, and has been in operation since AERC’s inception. At its core are the biannual research workshops, which bring together researchers (from both academia and research institutions) grouped according to thematic areas present and review each other’s work. The peer review mechanism is monitored by resource persons from around the globe, who provide quality assurance, guidance, and oversight. The five thematic groups are: A: Poverty, Income Distribution and Food Security; B: Macroeconomic Policies, Investment and Growth; C: Finance and Resource Mobilization; D: Trade and Regional Integration; and E: Political Economy, Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Policy Issues. Each research project is presented three times during the biannual research workshops at proposal stage, as work in progress and the final report, thus allowing the researchers to benefit from comments and feedback by peers and resource persons throughout the process. Final reports are then externally refereed, and accepted papers published in the AERC Research Paper Series. This volume is the first of its kind to bring together papers from thematic research projects. It is further testimony to the capacity building model that AERC has employed successfully over the years, allowing the Consortium to fulfill one of its major mandates - to strengthen local capacity for conducting independent, rigorous inquiry into problems pertinent to the management of African economies.