The answer to why Africa is poor is simply that its leaders have made this choice, argues Greg Mills in Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It (published in 2011 by Penguin). The Big Man mentality that is ubiquitous all over the continent has done Africa’s development a lot of harm. Aid, on the other hand, has proven to have the opposite of its desired effect in the continent – it has helped us move backwards rather than catapult us forward into the league of other nations of the world.
Ayitteh offers a way out for Africa to get rid of its ‘leaky begging bowl’ by advocating a return to the indigenous economic systems castigated before by the elites as backward and primitive. He argues that Africa’s indigenous systems have a long history of free trade and free markets that can be harnessed along with increased investment, both foreign and domestic.
Finding public sector success stories in Africa is rare, which explains why many African governments have resorted to full scale privatization. Against this context, the story of Dr. William Muhairwe, and how he turned around a failing government parastatal offers a real-world window into what really ails Africa.