EXCUSE ME! is a collection of humorous essays and keen observations about being Nigerian by Victor Ehikhamenor. Touching on politics, love, immigration, as well as other broad subjects, the book successfully weaves a satirical narrative around contemporary African experience.
Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (by Greg Mills)
State failure takes many forms. Somalia offers one extreme. The country's prolonged civil war led to the collapse of central authority, with state control devolving to warlord-led factions that competed for the spoils of local commerce, political power, and international aid. Malawi, on the other hand, is at the other end of the scale. During President Bingu's second term in office, the country's economy collapsed as a result of poor policies and Bingu's brand of personal politics. On the surface, Malawi's economy seemed largely stable; underneath, however, the polity was fractured and the economy broken. In between these two extremes of state failure are all manner of examples, many of which Mills explores in the fascinating and profoundly personal Why States Recover. Throughout he returns to his key questions: how do countries recover? What roles should both insiders and outsiders play to aid that process? Drawing on research in more than thirty countries, and incorporating interviews with a dozen leaders, Mills examines state failure and identifies instances of recovery in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. For anyone interested in the reasons behind states' failure, and remedies to ensure future economic stability, it is important reading.
Africa has been coveted for its riches ever since the era of the Pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew fortune-seekers, merchant-adventurers, and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other valuable minerals. Land was another prize. The Romans relied on their colonies in northern Africa for vital grain shipments to feed the population of Rome. Arab invaders followed in their wake, eventually colonizing the entire region. More recently, foreign corporations have acquired huge tracts of land to secure food supplies needed abroad, just as the Romans did. In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future. His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures--among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known. "I speak of Africa," Shakespeare wrote, "and of golden joys." This is history on an epic scale.
Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of Continental Catastrophe (by Gerard Prunier)
The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval. Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people. The Rwandan forces then turned on Zaire's despotic President Mobutu and, with the help of a number of allied African countries, overthrew him. But as Prunier shows, the collapse of the Mobutu regime and the ascension of the corrupt and erratic Laurent-D sir Kabila created a power vacuum that drew Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other African nations into an extended and chaotic war. The heart of the book documents how the whole core of the African continent became engulfed in an intractible and bloody conflict after 1998, a devastating war that only wound down following the assassination of Kabila in 2001. Prunier not only captures all this in his riveting narrative, but he also indicts the international community for its utter lack of interest in what was then the largest conflict in the world.
Economic growth does not demand a secret formula. Good development examples now abound in East Asia and farther afield in others parts of Asia, and in Central America. But why then has Africa failed to realise its potential in half a century of independence? This book shows that African poverty is not because the world has denied the continent the market and financial means to compete: far from it. It has not been because of aid per se. Nor is African poverty solely a consequence of poor infrastructure or trade access, or because the necessary development and technical expertise is unavailable internationally. Why then has the continent lagged behind other developing areas when its people work hard and the continent is blessed with abundant natural resources? Stomping across the continent and the developing world in search of the answer, Greg Mills controversially shows that the main reason why Africa's people are poor is because their leaders have made this choice.
a Guma's powerful, firsthand account depicts the dedicated South African people who risked their lives in the underground movement against apartheid. The main characters, Beukes and Elias, are among others determined to undermine apartheid's blatant oppression and demeaning tactics. The author's knack for rich descriptions and weaving the past with the present transports readers to the grind of working in an underground political organization and the challenges of confronting hardships, change, and injustice on a daily basis.
The path to progress in Africa lies in the surprising and innovative solutions Africans are finding for themselves Africa is a continent on the move. It's often hard to notice, though--the western focus on governance and foreign aid obscures the individual dynamism and informal social adaptation driving the last decade of African development. Dayo Olopade set out across sub-Saharan Africa to find out how ordinary people are dealing with the challenges they face every day. She found an unexpected Africa: resilient, joyful, and innovative, a continent of DIY changemakers and impassioned community leaders."" Everywhere Olopade went, she witnessed the specific creativity born from African difficulty--a trait she began calling "kanju." It's embodied by bootstrapping innovators like Kenneth Nnebue, who turned his low-budget, straight-to-VHS movies into a multi-million dollar film industry known as Nollywood. Or Soyapi Mumba, who helped transform cast-off American computers into touchscreen databases that allow hospitals across Malawi to process patients in seconds. Or Ushahidi, the Kenyan technology collective that crowdsources citizen activism and disaster relief." The Bright Continent" calls for a necessary shift in our thinking about Africa. Olopade shows us that the increasingly globalized challenges Africa faces can and must be addressed with the tools Africans are already using to solve these problems themselves. Africa's ability to do more with less--to transform bad aid and bad government into an opportunity to innovate--is a clear ray of hope amidst the dire headlines and a powerful model for the rest of the world.
In the powerful travel-writing tradition of Ryszard Kapuscinski and V.S. Naipaul, a haunting memoir of a dangerous and disorienting year of self-discovery in one of the world's unhappiest countries.
Corrupt, mismanaged, and seemingly hopeless: that's how the international community viewed Nigeria in the early 2000s. Then Nigeria implemented a sweeping set of economic and political changes and began to reform the unreformable. This book tells the story of how a dedicated and politically committed team of reformers set out to fix a series of broken institutions, and in the process repositioned Nigeria's economy in ways that helped create a more diversified springboard for steadier long-term growth. The author, Harvard- and MIT-trained economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, currently Nigeria's Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance and formerly Managing Director of the World Bank, played a crucial part in her country's economic reforms. In Nigeria's Debt Management Office, and later as Minister of Finance, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club that led to the wiping out of $30 billion of Nigeria's external debt, 60 percent of which was outright cancellation.Reforming the Unreformable offers an insider's view of those debt negotiations; it also details the fight against corruption and the struggle to implement a series of macroeconomic and structural reforms. This story of development economics in action, written from the front lines of economic reform in Africa, offers a unique perspective on the complex and uncertain global economic environment.
The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan (by Luke A. Patey)
In the past decade, the need for oil in Asia's new industrial powers, China and India, has grown dramatically. The New Kings of Crude takes the reader from the dusty streets of an African capital to Asia's glistening corporate towers to provide a first look at how the world's rising economies established new international oil empires in Sudan, amid one of Africa's longest-running and deadliest civil wars. For over a decade, Sudan fuelled the international rise of Chinese and Indian national oil companies. But the political turmoil surrounding the historic division of Africa's largest country, with the birth of South Sudan, challenged Asia's oil giants to chart a new course. Luke Patey weaves together the stories of hardened oilmen, powerful politicians, rebel fighters, and human rights activists to show how the lure of oil brought China and India into Sudan--only later to ensnare both in the messy politics of a divided country. His book also introduces the reader to the Chinese and Indian oilmen and politicians who were willing to become entangled in an African civil war in the pursuit of the world's most coveted resource. It offers a portrait of the challenges China and India are increasingly facing as emerging powers in the world.
The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth (by Tom Burgis)
The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other “emerging markets” have transformed their economies, Africa’s resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world’s reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world’s population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent. In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa’s new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline. This catastrophic social disintegration is not merely a continuation of Africa’s past as a colonial victim. The looting now is accelerating as never before. As global demand for Africa’s resources rises, a handful of Africans are becoming legitimately rich but the vast majority, like the continent as a whole, is being fleeced. Outsiders tend to think of Africa as a great drain of philanthropy. But look more closely at the resource industry and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world looks rather different. In 2010, fuel and mineral exports from Africa were worth $333 billion, more than seven times the value of the aid that went in the opposite direction. But who received the money? For every Frenchwoman who dies in childbirth, 100 die in Niger alone, the former French colony whose uranium fuels France’s nuclear reactors. In petro-states like Angola three-quarters of government revenue comes from oil. The government is not funded by the people, and as result it is not beholden to them. A score of African countries whose economies depend on resources are rentier states; their people are largely serfs. The resource curse is not merely some unfortunate economic phenomenon, the product of an intangible force. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. Like its victims, its beneficiaries have names.
In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
African politics has long been characterized as driven by the engine of violence. But today, violence is being overtaken by a new force: popular protest. Cities throughout the continent, from Tunisia and Egypt, to Uganda and Sudan, to Nigeria and Senegal, have seen uprisings by youth and unemployed, as well as organized labour, civil society activists, writers and artists, and religious groups. What is driving this new wave of popular protest in Africa? Drawing on interviews with activists in a number of countries, Adam Branch and Zachariah Mampilly offer a penetrating assessment of contemporary African protests, situating the current popular activism within its broader historical and continental context. Melding analyses of Africa's incorporation into the global economy, the failure of African governments to truly democratize, the behaviour of opposition forces both formal and informal, and the role of African popular culture, the authors provide essential insight into understanding African politics at today's key juncture.
An unforgettable chronicle of the year the brilliant novelist and memoirist, long favored for the Nobel Prize, was thrown in a Kenyan jail without charge. This memoir has never been published in the United States. It's a highly revised version of his memoir Detained, that was published in London in the early 1980s.
The Bonds of War is the story of two boys, whose lives intersect in the middle of a war that ravages Africa's heartland. Using the first-person narrative to powerful effect, The Bonds of War relives their story of unimaginable violence, suffering, cruelty and survival. The narrator, Jean Baptiste (JB) and his friend forge an unlikely bond as they fight to survive the madness around them. In this ambitious work of historical fiction, Wambalye Weikama delivers a fresh perspective that goes beyond the surface of what we know about the Rwandan genocide and the civil war it sparked in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the heart of the story are many deep questions that bring us to reflect on the long term effects of violence, the resilience of the human spirit, and the promise of young love.
In January 2003, Kenya was hailed as a model of democracy after the peaceful election of its new president, Mwai Kibaki. By appointing respected longtime reformer John Githongo as anticorruption czar, the new Kikuyu government signaled its determination to end the corrupt practices that had tainted the previous regime. Yet only two years later, Githongo himself was on the run, having secretly compiled evidence of official malfeasance throughout the new administration. Unable to remain silent, Githongo, at great personal risk, made the painful choice to go public. The result was a Kenyan Watergate. Michela Wrong's account of how a pillar of the establishment turned whistle-blower--becoming simultaneously one of the most hated and admired men in Kenya--grips like a political thriller while probing the very roots of the continent's predicament.
A couple's tranquil life abroad is irrevocably transformed by the arrival of their son's widow and children, in the latest from Somalia's most celebrated novelist.
A masterful, haunting debut set during the tumultuous beginnings of Zimbabwe that explores the creative--and often destructive--act of history-making.