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Africa's Moment

Jean-Michel Severino, Olivier Ray

ISBN: 978-0-745-65157-6 January 2012 Polity 352 Pages


Translated by David Fernbach

The 21st century will be the century of Africa. This continent was once seen as empty, rural, animist, poor, and forgotten by the world. Now, fifty years after independence, it is full to bursting, urban and monotheist. If poverty and violence are still rampant, economic growth has taken off again and a middle class is developing. Africa will hold a central place in the big issues facing the world today. If it once made a ‘false start’, here it is back again – in the fast lane.

The West has missed the turnaround of a continent that will no longer wait for us. How can we best understand it? Demography, economics, politics, diplomacy, cultures and religions – this book presents the different facets of this new Africa, which will soon have a billion people, at the mid point of the most rapid population boom that humanity has ever known. Without ignoring the risks of its metamorphosis, it brings to light the forces and hopes that Africa harbors.

  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword by Paul Collier
  • Introduction
  • Part One: The Peopling of a Continent
  • Chapter 1: Who Wants to Be a Billionaire?
  • Chapter 2: Malthus on CNN
  • Part Two: Africa on the Move
  • Chapter 3: A Black Peril?
  • Chapter 4: Crowded Roads
  • Part Three: Africa Versus Growth
  • Chapter 5: The Undiscoverable Curse
  • Chapter 6: The Great Wheel of Growth
  • Part Four: When Africa Awakes
  • Chapter 7: The Great Clean-Up
  • Chapter 8: Emerging Africa
  • Part Five: God's Africa
  • Chapter 9: Urban Compositions
  • Chapter 10: Crescent and Cross
  • Chapter 11: Switched-On Africa
  • Chapter 12: The End of Ethnicity
  • Chapter 13: African Democracy
  • Part Six: One March, Three Directions
  • Chapter 14: Countries of Rent, Countries in Danger
  • Chapter 15: The Vanguard of Development
  • Chapter 16: Fragile Africa: One Crisis After Another
  • Part Seven: Africa, The World's Vitality
  • Chapter 17: The End of Infinity
  • Chapter 18: Light Against Darkness
  • Chapter 19: The Hunger for Land
  • Chapter 20: The Struggle for Man
  • Part Eight: The Newcomer at the Feast of Nations
  • Chapter 21: Africa Courted
  • Chapter 22: Emerging Powers: Africa's New Exploiters?
  • Chapter 23: Acknowledging Africa
  • Conclusion
  • Maps
  • Notes
  • Index
"A wake-up call. Its message is simple: look out world, here comes Africa."
Wall Street Journal

"Clearly conceived, cleanly structured, tightly written and lucidly expressed. A highly readable text."
European Voice

"Their optimistic analysis of the continent and its inhabitants should be read by all who are interested in looking at Africa with a fresh and different perspective."
African Security Review

"A significant book for those interested in questions of economic and cultural change."
The Age

"Africa's Moment has the great value of underlining that Africa's future is indeed in the hands of Africans."
South World

"A timely and positive assessment of Africa's prospects founded upon deep understanding and a distinctive perspective."
Paul Collier, University of Oxford

"The West is wedded to a retrograde vision of Africa's past and know nothing of its present, even less of its  future. This unprecedented book forces revision of that outlook by addressing a world, just a few decades from now, where one in four human beings will be African."
Keith Hart, University of London