before turning the spotlight back onto Africa, through the sub-Saharan region. This exploratory exercise is undertaken in order to share with the reader what other parts of the world have achieved, as well as highlight important lessons that can be copied to enhance and anchor Africa’s growth.
This insightful book does not only refer to Ghana’s liberation as a significant act, but also, in a subtle manner, pays tribute to Kwame Nkrumah’s leadership, a leadership that had the right mix of vision, correct policies, hard work and perseverance. It points out that these elements are what is needed if Africa wants to liberate itself from the current political economies characterised by elitism and social inequality.
In the book, Mills’ advisory skills are clearly displayed, and one easily realises that the objective is to provide counsel and bring to light some solutions to the continent’s current challenges. An enabling environment that will allow people, businesses and organisations to accelerate progress towards development, as well as positioning Africa to be an active participant in global social, political and economic activities are what the two authors recommend. The book concludes by stating that, with the right policies, good governance and integration, Africa has the potential to achieve progress towards independence.
The book also paints a positive picture of the future and does so by mentioning three assets that Africa possesses – assets that could potentially be springboards for development, independence and prosperity:
- Africa’s positive, productive, energetic and up-and-coming workforce (the youth).
- The continent’s untapped natural resources base.
- A powerful and budding private sector.
The book, however, also openly highlights Africa’s biggest challenge: job creation for the youth. What I liked most about reading this incisive book is its simplicity and attention to detail – it has a great story-telling element that keeps the reader wanting to read more, and it is also full of figures and data. It is equally mentally stimulating and draws on studies and histories of countries such as Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe, to mention but a few. Mills, who throughout the book displays his deep knowledge of Africa and African matters, is very familiar with the African continent. As a special advisor to a number of African and other government institutions, and a columnist for the Sunday Times, he is widely published on international affairs, development and security. He is also the Director of the Brenthurst Foundation and an author of Why Africa Is Poor – and What Africans Can Do About It.
Herbst, a member of the Brenthurst Foundation’s Advisory Board, has also written on many aspects of the politics of sub-Saharan Africa, including political and economic transformation. In the book, these two authors manage to showcase their shared understanding of global affairs, which is clearly based on their experience and exposure. As I read the book, I could clearly draw parallels between the authors’ message and the contents of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2012 Report, published at the 2012 International Economic Forum on Africa, which highlighted human development, regional integration, economic and political governance, improved infrastructure, better education systems, as well as ongoing youth development as being the main pillars for a prosperous future for Africa. After reading this book, I was left in no doubt that the challenges as far as Africa is concerned are to develop policies that involve its youth in economic activities, to promote socio-economic integration, to make the most of its natural resource, and to put in place good governance.
Learning from the examples presented in the book is not just a necessary act for those who have a leadership mentality, but a wise one as well. This is definitely not a history book, but a book that makes one wonder: Is Africa’s tomorrow not long overdue?
Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst smartly combine their skills and wealth of experience to take the reader on a unique and thought-provoking journey through Africa’s social, political and economic activities, past, present and future.
Africa’s Third Liberation provides a framework for those who are hungry to set the agenda for Africa’s way forward. In short, this book highlights where Africa’s muscle lies, and strongly suggests that the time has come for Africa to utilise its natural resources for the benefit of Africans instead of depending on foreign aid. It also puts into context the importance of Africa as a united continent seeking to adjust its socio-economic activities and adapt to the ever-changing global and development agendas.
The book begins by highlighting Ghana’s liberation from the West, goes on to explore the northern part of Africa, and then steps out of Africa into other parts of the world, such as Burma, Cambodia, China and Kazakhstan,
Africa's Third Liberation
by Nomia Machebe