Ghanaian-born economics professor George B.N. Ayittey takes a hard, unsentimental look at the continuing economic, cultural, and political downfall of African countries. While Africa is the world's second-largest continent, containing 770 million people and much of the world's natural resources, he contends that the postcolonial African nations cannot reconcile what he calls "the two Africas," one traditional and one modern (or "Western"). That split, he says, wreaks havoc on the African people, and he comes down hard on "the elites, the parasitic minority group [that operates] by an assortment of imported or borrowed institutions." Africa in Chaos
examines the collapse of Nigeria's civilian-led democracy, as well as the anarchy in Liberia, the former Zaire, and Sierra Leone, outlining the suicidal quest for power that hinders Africa's growth. Ayittey, unlike many Afrocentric apologists, does not lay all of the blame for Africa's predicament on the West, but he does insist that solid, long-term investment from Europe and America is needed to lift the motherland out of its mire. His "Ten Commandments for African Intellectuals," intended to lead the way to success, include calls for an embrace of the African past, a relationship with the private sector, and consistent freedom of expression. --Eugene Holley Jr.
--This text refers to the
From Library Journal
Ayittey (economics, American Univ.), a Ghanaian by birth, provides a harsh critique of Africa's development. Describing the undermining of basic political and economic institutions, primarily since independence, he places much of the blame for the outcomes on African leaders themselves and what he calls their "vampire states." He asserts that African leaders have ignored the strengths of indigenous systems while spouting meaningless rhetoric and resisting meaningful change. These arguments have been raised in numerous other studies by African and Western authors, but Ayittey's focus on the failure and corruption of political, business, bureaucratic, and police leadership is persuasive, if incomplete. One wishes for more viable examples of internal alternatives to the "chaos" he describes to gain a sense of optimism. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Bill Rau, Talkoma, Md.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.