The foreign debt of African nations has increased so rapidly in recent years that threats of bankruptcy hover across the continent, raising the prospect that Africa's most serious crisis will be triggered not by drought, but by debt. The debt problem is not only slowing economic growth and increasing poverty; it is fomenting political upheaval by forcing these nations to neglect social and economic development in order to make debt payments. People in many countries are denied the most basic public services as their governments devote dwindling export earnings, their main source of income, to economic and political survival.
Charts the development of US foreign policy efforts under Reagan in (1) the Angolan conflict (2) South Africa. Since 1981, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Chester A Crocker, has pursued two main objectives in Africa (1) the reduction of Soviet/Cuban influence and cross-border conflict (2) the introduction of more liberal policies in South Africa.
Steven Radelet’s accessible new book argues that much of the credit for Africa’s recent economic boom goes to its increasingly open political systems. But Radelet fails to answer the deeper question: why some countries have managed to develop successful democracies while others have tried but failed.