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Agricultural productivity in 41 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries from 1960 to 1999 is examined by estimating a semi-nonparametric Fourier production frontier. Over the four decades the estimated rate of productivity change was 0.83% per year, although the average rate from 1985-99 was a strong 1.90% per year. Former UK colonies exhibited significantly higher productivity gains than others, while Liberia and countries that had been colonies of Portugal or Belgium exhibited net reductions in productivity. We measure a significant reduction in productivity during political conflicts and wars, and a significant increase in productivity among those countries with higher levels of political rights and civil liberties.