Amin was born in Cairo, the son of an Egyptian father and a French mother (both medical doctors). He spent his childhood and youth in Port Said; there he attended a French High School, leaving in 1947 with a Baccalauréat. From 1947 to 1957 he studied in Paris, gaining a diploma in political science (1952) before graduating in statistics (1956) and economics (1957). In his autobiography Itinéraire intellectuel (1990) he wrote that in order to spend substantial time in "militant action" he could devote only a minimum of work preparing for university exams. Arriving in Paris, Amin joined the French Communist Party (PCF), but he later distanced himself from Soviet Marxism and associated for some time with Maoist circles. He also published with other students a magazine, íÂÂ‰tudiants Anticolonialistes. In 1957 he presented his thesis, supervised by Franí§ois Perroux among others, originally titled The origins of underdevelopment - capitalist accumulation on a world scale but retitled The structural effects of the international integration of precapitalist economies. A theoretical study of the mechanism which creates so-called underdeveloped economies. After finishing his thesis, Amin went back to Cairo, where he was from 1957 to 1960 research officer at the government "Institution for Economic Management". Subsequently Amin left Cairo, to become advisor in the Ministry of Planning in Bamako (Mali) from 1960 to 1963. In 1963 he was offered a fellowship at the Institut Africain de Développement íÂÂ‰conomique et de Planification (IDEP). Until 1970 he worked there as well as being a professor at the university of Poitiers, Dakar and Paris (of Paris VIII, Vincennes). In 1970 he became director of the IDEP, which he managed until 1980. In 1980 Amin left the IDEP and became a director of the Third World Forum in Dakar.