As Africa attracts investment from China and elsewhere, observers foresee a bright future for the continent. A range of books – including The Next Factory of the World and Rwanda, Inc. – predict rapid economic growth and robust development. Journalist Martin Meredith’s examination of Africa’s recent history offers no such optimism. Since the 1960s, he writes, the continent’s story has been one of broken promises, squandered potential, governmental corruption and incompetence. In Africa, periods of difficulty become apocalyptically bad, with grinding poverty, starving children, rampant disease and corrupt government officials. On a continent where few nations did anything to stem the AIDS epidemic, life seems cheap. In a rare bright spot in Meredith’s history, Nelson Mandela endured imprisonment and emerged to lead a democracy movement in South Africa. getAbstract recommends this sobering 700-page reality check to investors, global managers, NGO workers, historians and students. He last updated his history in 2011, just as Africa showed new signs of growth, but his overview’s comprehensive nature still warrants and rewards a thoughtful read.
In this summary, you will learn
- How little has changed in Africa during a half-century of independence,
- Why democracy struggles to gain a foothold in Africa and
- Why China’s billions won’t fix the continent’s underlying problems.
About the Author
Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer and historian. His previous books include Mandela: A Biography and Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life.
Comment on this summary
2 months agoThe issues of Strongmen and Big man democracy are still relevant to many of African countries today. These leaders and their cronies are still ruling the continent with corrupt practices. Civil services continue to growth unnecessarily and the strongmen will justify it with bogus excuses. African has rich resources it can use to develop its economy and end over reliant on foreign aide. Until citizens of this rich continent begin to say enough is enough to these political dictators African economy will continue in misery.
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Public Affairs, 2016