In This Review

U.S. Economic Policy Toward Africa
U.S. Economic Policy Toward Africa
By Jeffrey Herbst
Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1992, 82 pp

This concise and well-informed review of American aid policy recommends that future economic assistance be restricted to a smaller number of African countries and tied strictly to specific criteria of economic performance. Herbst, a Princeton political scientist, proposes that apart from abandoning regimes that commit the worst human rights abuses, the United States ought not make its economic aid conditional on political liberalization, since progress in that dimension is bound to be slow, erratic and difficult to measure. While developing a strong and pragmatic case that these recommendations are likely to benefit Africans, the book offers little guidance on how aid might be made more acceptable to Congress and American public opinion, given Africa's marginality to U.S. global interests.