This article uses recent advances in data envelopment analysis, bootstrap data envelopment analysis, to investigate whether technical efficiency in the agricultural sector of 33 African countries improved (catching up) for the period 1966-2001. We also investigate whether there is evidence of efficiency catching-up within the five regions of Central, Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern Africa. Overall, the results show no evidence for efficiency catching-up in the entire sample. However, efficiency differed across countries and regions with evidence of catching-up within the East African countries. Our analyses point to the need for policies that improve technological uptake in African agriculture. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.