Harold Cooper, 73, a specialist on Africa and a retired consultant to the government of Liberis here, died Monday at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital in Arlington. He had diabetes.

Mr. Cooper, who was born in Nuneaton, England, was a former official of the British Colonial Administrative Service who had served in the Gold Coast, now Ghana, the Fiji Islands in the Pacific and in Nigeria. He was the author of a book about Africa, "Adventures of Kwaku," a collection of Ashanti folk tales, and two books about the Fijis, "Among Those Present -- British Pacific Islands at War" and "Local Government in Fiji." He also published several volumes of poetry.

He came to this country in 1954 and settled in Bethesda. From 1954 to 1956, he taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. From then until his retirement about 1970, he was a private consultant on African affairs. His principal client was the government of Liberia.

In recent years, he had lived in Northern Virginia and was a resident of Great Falls at the time of his death.

Mr. Cooper was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities in England and at Yale and Princeton universities in this country. From 1931 to 1933, he taught Shakespeare at Ohio State University. He began his career in the colonial service in 1933 and retired from it in 1954.

His wife, the former Elspeth Brooks Montgomery, died in 1967.

Survivors include three children, Cary, of Columbia, Md., Brooks, of Herndon, and Elspeth Keats of Great Falls, and four grandchildren.