This paper employs a production frontier approach that allows distinguishing technologic progress from efficiency development. Data on 35 African countries in 1970-2007 show that efficiency losses have constrained growth in Africa while technology progress has played a marginal growth enhancing role in the region. Moreover, physical and human capital accumulation are the main factors that drive productivity growth at the country level. Examining the outcomes of successful countries suggests that good governance, institutional quality and good policies are key factors for improving economic development in Africa. These factors are even more required in Sub-Saharan Africa given the natural constraints of geography in the region.