April 14, 2008

Book Review - Africa Unchained

Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future
George B. N. Ayittey
HC 800 .A985 2005

Economist Ayittey investigates why many Africans, especially the poor, have been unable to prosper in the 21st century. He concludes simply that economic freedom has been denied to them--first by their European colonial powers and more recently by native autocratic leaders. After initial chapters analyze the source of African economic problems and the resulting effects on first and second generations living under democratic rule, he puts forward a model for African economic development. The plan that he puts forward builds on indigenous African economies, looking before colonial rule for definitions of property rights, free trade, and market behavior. He uses these to put forward a development model that does not depend on foreign intervention, but instead builds on Africa's unique situation. This analysis will be particularly useful to Westerners working to involve African nations in the world economy.