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Africa Books

Africa Renewal
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Book review
50 ans après, l’Afrique

by Tidiane Diakité (Arléa, Paris, France, 2011; 312 pp; €22)

50 ans après, l’Afrique

Africa, a puzzling paradox. Why is it that a continent with such an abundance of natural resources harbours the poorest people on the planet? In his book 50 ans après, l'Afrique ("50 years later, Africa"), Malian history professor Tidiane Diakité analyzes the state of the continent a half century since its decolonization. Diakité addresses the obvious question that has been haunting Africa's development for decades. He starts by noting that the slave trade and colonial subjugation of Africa's people diverted the continent from its original historical trajectory and turned the African identity into that of an "outcast." Yet in order to claim their rightful place in the game of globalization, Africans need to understand its rules rather than lament the outcome of centuries of disgrace.

In his attempt to shed some light on the popular debates over Africa's slow pace of development, Prof. Diakité examines the common issues known to have set back Africa's advancement. From the evidence of corruption to the lack of democracy and the misuse of aid, he provides the reader with fine lessons on the continent's mishaps, backed up by historical facts. His analysis of the major hindrances to the development of most sub-Saharan countries is concise and precise — but not innovative. The situation is bad, we know. The question is: What do we do about it?

The final two chapters reflect on the future of the continent. Prof. Diakité identifies a number of solutions. Africa, he argues, needs to shed its past image and concentrate on re-evaluating the role of the state and its leaders, emphasizing youth education, encouraging foreign investment and so on. Such obvious solutions have been acknowledged by many, but implemented by few. Prof. Diakité paints an accurate and comprehensible picture, yet breaks little new ground. 

— Rebecca Moudio


Catching Up: What LDCs Can Do, and How Others Can Help by Paul Collier (Commonwealth Secretariat, London, UK, 2011; 86 pp; pb £15.00, e-book £12.00)

Live from Dar es Salaam: Popular Music and Tanzania's Music Economy by Alex Perullo (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, USA, 2011; 376 pp; pb $27.95)

La Mauritanie entre le pouvoir civil et le pouvoir militaire by Mohamed Lemine Ould Meymoun (L'Harmattan, Paris, France, 2011; 246 pp; pb €24.50)

Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa by Orla Ryan (Zed Books, London, UK, 2011; 176 pp; pb £12.99)

African Cities: Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice by Garth A. Myers (Zed Books, London, UK, 2011; 224 pp; pb £18.99)

Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide by Rebecca Hamilton (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, New York, USA, 2011; 272 pp; $26.00)

Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence, eds. Scott Straus and Lars Waldorf (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 2011; 320 pp; pb $26.95, e-book $16.95)

African Security and the African Command: Viewpoints on the US Role in Africa, eds. Terry Buss et al (Kumarian Press, Sterling, Virginia, US, 2011; 288 pp; pb $27.95, e-book $22.36)

Contesting Global Order: Development, Global Governance and Globalization by James H. Mittelman (Routledge, New York, New York, US, 2011; 304 pp; pb $39.95)

L'ethique du bien commun en Afrique. Regards croisés by Xavier Dijon and Marcus Ndongmo (L'Harmattan, Paris, France ; 2011; 212 pp ; pb €20.50)

Indépendances africaines : chroniques d'une relation by Olivier Barlet (L'Harmattan, Paris, France, 2011; 248 pp; pb €22)

I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb by Joanne Veal Gabbin, Betty Press, Annetta Miller, Alison Nordström, Christiana Chinwe Okechukwu (Betty Press, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA, 2011; 184 pp; hb $39.95)

Oil and Insurgency in the Niger Delta: Managing the Complex Politics of Petroviolence, eds. Cyril Obi and Siri Aas Rustad (Zed Books, London, UK, 2011; 288 pp; pb £21.99)

Les Chinois à la conquête de l'Afrique by Jean Jolly (Pygmalion, Paris, France, 2011; 327 pp; pb €22.90)

Here the People Rule: Political Transition and Challenges for Democratic Consolidation in Africa by John W. Forje (Nova Science Publishers, New York, New York, USA, 2011; 216 pp; pb $43)

Civil Society and International Governance: The Role of Non-state Actors in the EU, Africa, Asia and Middle East, eds. David Armstrong et al (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, 2010; 224 pp; hb $125)

L'avenir du Partenariat Chine Afrique by Karima Belkacem and Lotfi Ouled Ben Hafsia (L'Harmattan, Paris, France, 2011; 114 pp; pb €12)

Madagascar dans une crise interminable by Toavina Ralambomahay (L'Harmattan, Paris, France, 2011; 138 pp, pb €13.50)

Ethnicity, Citizenship and State in Eastern Africa by Aquiline Tarimo (Langaa Research and Publishing, Bamenda, Cameroon, 2011; 216 pp ; pb £18.95)

N'émigrez pas! L'Europe est un mythe by Omar Ba (Jean-Claude Gawsewitch Éditeur, Paris, France, 2010; 256 pp; pb €18.90)

Health Campaign