Africa in the 1980s: A Continent in Crisis

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Africa in the 1980s: A Continent in Crisis

By Colin Legum, I. William Zartman, Lynn K. Mytelka and Steven
McGraw-Hill (for the Council on Foreign Relations/1980s Project), 1979
288 pp. $9.95

A volume rich in background information on a variety of African issues, but overly academic and too narrowly focused for a general audience. Legum predicts increased political instability in the 1980s, an escalation of Sino-Soviet competition in the continent, and a "settlement" of the South African issue by Soviet-supported violence. Zartman contends that economic conflict and food shortages approaching Malthusian proportions will be the root cause of instability, with the have-not countries becoming more authoritarian and the richer ones more democratic. Langdon and Mytelka, who provide a useful economic history of colonial development in Africa, urge an end to multinational corporate influence and a new emphasis on basic human needs and "appropriate technology" for increased self-reliance. They recognize, however, that nationalistic competition and the present distribution of power in Africa make the achievement of such goals in the 1980s far from likely.

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