The International Relations of Sub-Saharan Africa
By Ian Taylor
Continuum, 2010, 192 pp.
Given Africa's poor economic performance, it is easy to dismiss the region as marginal. In this up-to-date and always readable introduction to Africa's international relations, Taylor argues that, on the contrary, Africa has often played a significant role on the global stage, and he provides many examples of how African leaders are able to manipulate the international system to pursue their own interests. They play the great powers off against one another, they leverage access to the region's substantial natural resources, and they take advantage of the region's economic failures to get foreign aid. Surveying the relationship between each of the world's major powers and Africa and discussing the region's international economic relations, the book also includes an especially incisive chapter on China's recent forays into the region and another one on recent British policies there. Although it is presumably targeted at an undergraduate audience, it will appeal to most interested readers.