Contemporary Issues in Africa's Development: Whither the African Renaissance?
This volume reports on the state of crisis in Africa in the early twenty-first century. Africa, on the eve of the ‘independence revolution’, was the continent of hope and high expectations. By the third decade of independence, optimism had been replaced by dismality. African states had been beset by ethno-political squabbles, military rule, civil wars, Islamic and insurgent movements, extreme poverty and disease. With the ascent of redemocratization in the 1990s and of ‘new’ pan-Africanism derived from the formation of the African Union, Africa appeared set to claim its vaunted destiny. This book asks, with hindsight to the first decade of the twenty-first century: how real was the renaissance in African life?
If the dismal African condition is a phase in the historical development of Africa, this volume does not see any golden age in the past to which Africa aspires to return. There is clearly a continuation and persistence of crisis, with an absence of good governance, personalisation of state power, widespread disease, and policy failure in education, economy and infrastructural development. Although endowed with abundant human and natural resources, Africa remains the least developed and most indebted continent. Whither then the African Renaissance?
The methodologies that underpin the contributions in this book are as diverse as the specialisations of the contributors. The collection questions ideologically protected assumptions and presumptions, presenting Africa as it is, because it is only by knowing where Africa truly stands that a proper direction can be charted for it.
Richard A. Olaniyan received a PhD in History from Georgetown University, USA, in 1970. Since 1983, he has been a Professor of History at Obafemi Awolowo University, Adekunle Ajasin University, Niger Delta University, and Joseph Ayo Babalola University, all in Nigeria. His edited books include The Amalgamation and its Enemies: An Interpretive History of Modern Nigeria. 2nd Ed. (2013).
Ehimika A. Ifidon received a PhD in History from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, in 2003. He has been a Professor of History at the University of Benin, Nigeria, since 2013. He is the editor of Nigerian Journal of the Humanities and Tarikh.
"By and large the book is constructed in such a simple, lucid, and vivid language, and yet it remained frantic and critical on the reality of Africa’s development impasse. The use of a crossdisciplinary method to present Africa’s development discourses stands out in the book. The systematic analysis of the dynamics of the economic, social, and political dimensions of African development is commendable. The organisation of the sections and chapters shows sequence and coherency of the themes. The interplay between causality and the use of descriptive tools to critically evaluate development issues in Africa sustains the reader’s attention. The book does not only pinpoint the key questions Africa’s development but offers practical and strategic suggestion on how to deal with them. Contemporary Issues in Africa’s Development is a one-stop shop and a hands-on reading for scholarship in African development studies."
- Emmanuel Zwanbin United States International University-Africa, Nairobi African Studies Quarterly 18(2) February 2019
Mike U. Ajieh
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