- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; 2nd edition edition (26 Jan. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143528092
- ISBN-13: 978-0143528098
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.7 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It? Paperback – 26 Jan 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The frustration of uneducated youth ,who will account for the majority of the population will result in an upheaval,
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A large proportion of the book is not about Africa at all. He spends a large chunk of the first half of the book discussing various reasons (or excuses) given for the relative failure of African nations to grow and for each reason, he finds another nation elsewhere in the world that has had the opposite experience.
In the end, he points out that nations that showed spectacular economic growth e.g. Singapore, were led by leaders and governments who were obsessed by economic growth and staked their reputations on achieving it.
Even though there are many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, each with their own story, the central theme is lack of interest by governments on how to realistically achieve growth. One of the strengths of this book is that Greg Mills does not use words like 'probably', 'might' or 'could be the reason'. He basically points to this one issue as the central problem.
The only minor disappointment I had was the relative lack personal conversations with government officials themselves. There are several, but more would have helped illustrate the issues better. There is a good set of journeys/ examples that he uses to drive home comparisons. A good example is his description of the difference between leaving the Congo (barely a country) and entering Rwanda (quite well run):
"The Rwandan road was not perfect, but was an autobahn in comparison to the Congolese side. It was the difference apparently between having a government and a regime that preys on its people"
This really drove home the point in very few words, but more first-hand interviews would have helped illustrate some quite complex topics and made the (500 page) book more fascinating, I think.
This is the mind blowing age old question. Dr Greg Mills of the Brenthurst Foundation has solved this problem in this book.
The book is a fascinating read and it compares countries and continents that have been occupied / invaded by foreigners and "imperialists" over the past hundred years and then compares them with African countries.
He looks at Asia and South America amongst others and compares their post nationalisation and post civil war growth and policies with those of Africa and his findings are startling.
This is one of those books that cannot be read quickly and where lots of thinking about what Dr Mills is saying is required. I am still on the first part of the book about why Africa is poor, but I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand why Africa and Africans are in the state they are.
I'll write more once I am finished the book and once I have read what we can do about it. Note that having been born in Africa, I consider myself an African!
From the book I gathered it much better for the continent to rely on itself than aid