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The invisible hand and EKC hypothesis: what are the drivers of environmental degradation and pollution in Africa?


This study examined the drivers of environmental degradation and pollution in 17 countries in Africa from 1971 to 2013. The empirical study was analyzed with Westerlund error-correction model and panel cointegration tests with 1000 bootstrapping samples, U-shape test, fixed and random effect estimators, and panel causality test. The investigation of the nexus between environmental pollution economic growth in Africa confirms the validity of the EKC hypothesis in Africa at a turning point of US$ 5702 GDP per capita. However, the nexus between environmental degradation and economic growth reveals a U shape at a lower bound GDP of US$ 101/capita and upper bound GDP of US$ 8050/capita, at a turning point of US$ 7958 GDP per capita, confirming the scale effect hypothesis. The empirical findings revealed that energy consumption, food production, economic growth, permanent crop, agricultural land, birth rate, and fertility rate play a major role in environmental degradation and pollution in Africa, thus supporting the global indicators for achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030.

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The usual disclaimer applies to the final version of this paper. This research was funded by the International Macquarie University Research Training Program (iMQRTP) Scholarship, Macquarie University, Australia.

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Correspondence to Samuel Asumadu Sarkodie.

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Responsible editor: Nicholas Apergis

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Sarkodie, S.A. The invisible hand and EKC hypothesis: what are the drivers of environmental degradation and pollution in Africa?. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 21993–22022 (2018).

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  • Cross-sectional dependence
  • Panel cointegration test
  • Panel Granger causality
  • Africa
  • Econometrics