The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence
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An epic biography of postcolonial Africa illuminates its current devastating problems. What happened to this vast continent, so rich in resources and history, to bring it so close to destitution and despair in the span of two generations?
strategy itself might be at fault. He acknowledged that the country was neither socialist nor self-reliant, but he argued that government policy had prevented the worst excesses of capitalism, in particular the emergence of a rich and powerful elite. Comparing socialism to a vaccine, he said in 1977: ‘We are like a man who does not get smallpox because he has got himself vaccinated. His arm is sore and he feels sick for a while; if he has never seen what smallpox does to people, he may feel very
control for contributions to political funds and foreign trips and for providing jobs for family, friends and kinsmen. Tenders were often awarded to dubious companies that never delivered goods and services. Project costs were grossly inflated to allow for kickbacks, rendering many projects uneconomical. Company assets were routinely stolen. Payrolls were padded with ‘phantom’ workers – bogus employees. Governmentowned banks, a prime target, were obliged to lend large loans to politicians, their
to recede. Moreover, the collapse of socialist governments in Eastern Europe in 1989 deprived the ANC of one of its main sources of financial, logistical and military support. The fear that the ANC could be used as ‘a Trojan horse’ for advancing Soviet interests fell away. De Klerk was quick to grasp the importance of these strategic openings. Though a staunch defender of the apartheid system, proud of the achievements of ‘separate development’, he was essentially a pragmatist, determined above
dragged through a morass of intrigue and infighting between two rival factions, one supporting Mbeki, the other led by Jacob Zuma, a former deputy president. At the centre of this sordid struggle was the issue of high-level corruption emanating from the arms deal, which had spread through the ANC like a poison. Although Zuma was only one of several senior ANC officials implicated in taking bribes, he became the central target for state prosecutors. The charges levelled against him included not
with unemployment at home rather than poverty abroad. Ten European states spent less on aid in 2010 than in 2009. Nor are Western governments inclined to amend their trade and agricultural policies for the sake of Africa’s revival. Determined to protect their own producers, industrialised countries operate a system of subsidies and tariff barriers that have a crippling effect on African producers. The total value of their agricultural subsidies amounts to more than 1 billion dollars a day – $400