'An excellent book. Timely, provocative, written throughout with a passion for Africa and Africans.' -- Bob Geldof
From the Author
I once hitched a ride on a beer truck in Cameroon. The journey, to deliver 30,000 bottles of Guinness to a thirsty town in the heart of the rain forest, was supposed to take less than a day, but it took four.
Swampy roads and a collapsed bridge were partly to blame, but the worst delays were caused by police road blocks, of which we met 47. Every few miles, wed see a couple of oil drums in the middle of the road, and a plump gendarme would pick over our papers, hoping to find a fault he could demand a bribe to overlook.
One policeman invented a new rule about not carrying passengers in beer trucks. When I put it to him that the law he was citing did not, in fact, exist, he patted his holster and asked me if I had a gun. "I have a gun," he pointed out, "So I know the rules."
Africa is poor today largely because it has been so badly governed for the last 30 or 40 years. Too few of its rulers are competent; too many are predatory. Those Cameroonian road blocks are not a bad illustration of how power is wielded on the continent. What Africans need is not more aid, but smaller and better government.
The reviewers dont all agree with me, but they do agree that the book is a cracking read.
"I doubt whether there is a better brief introduction to the travails of modern Africa and their causes." Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph.
"astute and clever
Guest asks all the right questions" RW Johnson, Sunday Times.
"[Guest] is a lively and observant reporter. He portrays, with humour and some compassion, how nothing really works in most African countries..." Anthony Sampson, The Guardian.