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  • The State of Africa 2010/11: Parameters and Legacies of Governance and Issue Areas
  • Guy Martin
Adar, Korwa G., Monica K. Juma, and Katabaro N. Miti, eds. 2010. The State of Africa 2010/11: Parameters and Legacies of Governance and Issue Areas. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa. 252 pp. $34.95 (paper).

The State of Africa series was initiated in 2003 by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), a Pretoria-based think tank and research center focusing on Africa. Its tasks include regularly surveying critical issue areas relating to intra-African, inter-African, and extra-African relations. Volume I, The State of Africa: Thematic and Factual Review (2004) covered a broad range of issues relating to politics and governance, peace and conflict, and regional development. Volume II, The State of Africa: Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (2008), examined post-conflict issues in Africa. Those volumes were co-edited by three African scholars currently or formerly associated with the AISA: Korwa G. Adar, Monica K. Juma, and Katabaro N. Miti.

The current edition, volume III, titled Parameters and Legacies of Governance and Issue Areas, takes a multidisciplinary approach to some of these issues by providing an in-depth analysis of the prevailing political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics at the national, regional, continental, and international levels. In addition to an introduction and conclusion by the editors, the book includes fourteen chapters contributed by fifteen African writers. Divided into three parts, each focuses on a different level of African society, politics, and economics, which specifically deals with local and national, regional and continental, and global affairs.

Also contained in this volume is a broad survey of the current economic and social conditions in Africa—which reveals that rather than progressing, Africa is stagnating, or even regressing. For example, as Gilbert Khadiagala notes, “Africa is the only continent to have grown poorer in the past 25 years” (p. 155). It is further underscored that “life in most African countries . . . remains nasty, short and brutish with a life expectancy that has marginally improved since the 1970s” (p. 245). According to Adejumobi and Rosalie, the social cost of the economic-reform programs imposed by international financial institutions has been prohibitive, leading to “increased poverty, unemployment, continued poor access to education and healthcare facilities and generally declining living standards” (p. 136).

A consequence of the foregoing conditions and of the myriad conflicts that still plague the continent are the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa—a problem highlighted by Remi Aiyede in his chapter on human security in Africa (pp. 51–65). In chapter 3 (pp. 37–50), Raphael Ogom argues that civil-society organizations, whether indigenous [End Page 96] organizations or social movements, should play an increasing role in addressing these issues—a point reiterated by John Akokpari in his chapter on politics and governance in Africa (pp. 69–85).

In the five chapters of part II (chapters 5 to 9), the contributors situate African regional cooperation and integration within the framework of the pan-Africanist ideology, which Ufo Uzodike strangely refers to as “Afrogovernance” (pp. 87–88), also renamed “African Renaissance” (“African solutions to African problems”). The analysis in these chapters shows the continuing relevance of the age-old debate between the advocates of a gradual regional integration in the economic and technical fields (i.e., “functionalists,” such as former presidents Julius Nyerere and Olusegun Obasanjo) and the advocates of immediate and total economic and political unity in the form of a “United States of Africa” (i.e., pan-Africanists, such as Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade). On the question of whether the African Union (AU)—created in 2001 as a successor to the OAU—actually embodies this pan-Africanist ideal, the jury is still out.

For some scholars, including Ufo Uzodike, “the formation of the AU and the subsequent development of structures and institutions of continental governance are part of the dynamics of pan-Africanism” (p. 91). For a scholar like Uzodike (who inadvertently contradicts himself), the prerequisites for effective regional and continental integration as exemplified by the European Union—“supra-national institutions, the subordination of aspects of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1978
Print ISSN
0001-9887
Pages
pp. 96-100
Launched on MUSE
2011-05-13
Open Access
No
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