George Ayittey takes up the plight of Africa at the end of the twentieth century.
Ayittey (Economics, American University), a Ghanaian by birth, provides a harsh critique of Africa's development. Describing the undermining of basic political and economic institutions, primarily since independence, he places much of the blame for the outcomes on African leaders themselves and what he calls their "vampire states." He asserts that African leaders have ignored the strengths of indigenous systems while spouting meaningless rhetoric and resisting meaningful change. These arguments have been raised in numerous other studies by African and Western authors, but Ayittey's focus on the failure and corruption of political, business, bureaucratic, and police leadership is persuasive, if incomplete. One wishes for more viable examples of internal alternatives to the "chaos" he describes to gain a sense of optimism. -- Bill Rau, Talkoma, Maryland