Interest in the study of Africa’s economic fortunes is certainly on the rise. How do I know this? A new course – free, open-access and hosted by the London Business School’s Wheeler Institute – begins 1 February, and more than 23 000 participants have already signed up!

What is it about? The course covers major episodes in African history that economics research has analysed following a rough chronological timeline, from the pre-colonial era, the slaves trades, the Scramble for Africa, colonisation and into the independence era. Some of the leading thinkers in African economic history are involved: Nathan Nunn, Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou and Leonard Wantchekon will lecture on each Tuesday with guest lecturers on each Wednesday. I’m presenting a talk about South African economic history on 2 March.

Why don’t you join us for a fascinating discussion about African economic history! See the course logistics below. For more information, read this Vox post.

Participation: We would like to meet, work with, and learn from students and young professionals with any relevant background, especially from Africa, as its people’s voices have sadly not much been heard. Technical aspects, such as the processing of geo-referenced data, details of econometric design and approach and economic modelling, will be kept to a minimum. The course is open to students with a background and interest in economics, political science, history, cultural anthropology, and psychology. Given the first-order role of Africa’s history in shaping present-day growth dynamics, the course will be of interest to business students keen to grasp the fluidity, complexity, and dynamism of African societies.

Cost/registration: The online course is free and open-access. Only a simple registration is needed.

Times: All lectures take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Lectures start on Tuesday 1 February and end on 13 April. All lectures in February and March start at 10.00 EDT, 15.00 GMT, and then GMT+1 for the April dates.

Course material and further information: Those interested in attending lectures can consult the course website, which provides a detailed timeline of main, special and plenary lectures, a provisional syllabus and other information.