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Africa Books

Africa Renewal
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Book review
A Good African Story: How a Small Company Built a Global Coffee Brand

by Andrew Rugasira
Random House, London, UK, 2013, 288 pp; hb $21


Andrew Rugasira, author of A Good African Story: How a Small Company Built a Global Coffee Brand, is best known in his native Uganda as a pioneer coffee entrepreneur. In this book, he tells the story of the success of his coffee company, Good African Coffee, after a very tough beginning, and also draws attention to Africa’s unequal trade with the rest of the world.

His interest in coffee was shaped by Uganda’s fame in the coffee export business. In the book, Mr. Rugasira writes, “Uganda produces over three million bags of coffee a year [approximately 200,000 tonnes] but most of this coffee is exported in its raw form – as green beans for processing in the consuming countries of the developed world. What no Ugandan coffee company had done before was to place a branded coffee product on supermarket shelves in South Africa and the UK.” This then became Mr. Rugasira’s ultimate challenge. 

For eight years, he strived to establish and run a coffee company that would not only bring in profits through exports, but also benefit local farmers through profit-sharing.

On his catchphrase “trade not aid,” Mr. Rugasira writes, “I introduced programmes that would invest in the areas of coffee agronomy, support that would improve crop quality…productivity and economical stewardship…for the farmers.” 

Living up to the challenge is what Mr. Rugasira clearly illustrates in his book. He demonstrates the many obstacles faced by an African-owned business, such as entering new markets as well as gaining credibility. He also takes the time to show how important it is to reward others in order to grow one’s business – it is a process that is indeed cyclical, contributing to better livelihoods for farmers as
well as to the expansion of the coffee company.

The 288-page book will serve as a great primer for budding entrepreneurs as well as those who want to better understand the logistics of global business.

— Pavithra Rao

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African Pasts, Presents, and Futures: Generational Shifts in African Women’s Literature, Film, and Internet Discourse (After the Empire: The Francophone World and Postcolonial France) by D. Khannous Touria (Lexington Books, Lanham, USA, 2013; 230 pp; hb $80)

Agricultural Development and Food Security in Africa: The Impact of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian Investments (Africa Now) by Fantu Cheru and Renu Modi (Zed Books Publication, London, UK, 2013; 256 pp; pb $39.95)

Changing Identifications and Alliances in North-East Africa: Ethiopia and Kenya (Integration and Conflict Studies) by Günther Schlee and Elizabeth E Watson (Berghahn Books, New York City, USA, 2013; 272 pp; pb $34.95)

Cinema and Development in West Africa by James E. Genova (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, USA, 2013; 222 pp; pb $25)

Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination by Gaurav Desai (Columbia University Press, New York City, USA, 2013; 352 pp; hb $50)

Conflict and Security in Africa (ROAPE African Readers) by Rita Abrahamsen (Boydell & Brewer, Suffolk, UK, 2013; 252 pp; pb $34.95)

Congo Calling:  The Memoir of a Welsh Nurse in 1960s Africa by Margaret Maund (Y Lolfa, Talybont, UK, 2013; 114 pp; pb $17.95)

Development, Modernism and Modernity in Africa by Augustine Agwuele (Routledge, London, UK, 2011; 340 pp; hb $133.00) 

Francophone Africa at Fifty by Tony Chafer and Alexander Keese (Manchester University Press, England, UK, 2013; 304 pp; pb $115) 

Popular Politics in the History of South Africa, 1400-1948 by Paul S. Landau (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2013; 318 pp; pb $31.99)

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Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, and Citizenship by S.N. Nyeck and Marc Epprecht (Mcgill-Queens University Press, Ontario, Canada, 2013; 296 pp;
pb $29.95)

Striving for Better Jobs: The Challenge of Informality in the Middle East and North Africa (Directions in Development) by Roberta Gatti, Diego Angel-Urdinola, Joana Silva and Andras Bodor (World Bank Publications, Washington D.C., USA, 2013; 320 pp; pb $34.95)

The Democratic Republic of Congo:  Between Hope and Despair (African Arguments) by Michael Deibert (Zed Books Publication, London, UK, 2013; 280 pp; pb $19.95)

The Idealist:  Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty by Nina Munk (Doubleday, New York City, USA, 2013; 272 pp; pb $26.95)

The Last Hot Battle of the Cold War: South Africa vs. Cuba in the Angolan Civil War by Peter Polack (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia, USA, 2013; 304 pp; pb $32.95)

The Rise of the BRICS in Africa by Pádraig Carmody (Zed Books Publication, London, UK, 2013; 192 pp; pb $29.95)

The Threat of Liberation:  Imperialism and Revolution in Zanzibar by Amrit Wilson (Pluto Press, London, UK, 2013; 168 pp; pb $30)