This paper presents a systematic literature review of 109 empirical articles published between 1977 and 2017 in English and French on management accounting (MA) in Africa. Our main results are synthesized into seven larger themes and an evidence-based explanatory framework regarding MA in Africa. This framework suggests that MA in Africa is subject to various antecedents, some of which are specific to African countries and contexts. In addition, we find that current MA practices and systems may have mainly hampered, rather than fostered, performance and development in many African countries and enterprises. However, our review also shows overall that such critical views on MA in Africa are rather found in internationally ranked English-language journals, than in less esteemed English-language and Francophone journals. According to our analyses, the more critical findings can largely be explained by the overriding paradigm of neopatrimonialism, while the less critical and more positivist findings rather adhere to contingency thinking. Finally, the present review highlights a need for more research about MA in the informal African economy, the connection between MA and development-related sustainability issues, such as civil wars and environmental management, and the impact of the increased presence of China on MA in Africa.