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We Need to Talk About Africa

The harm we have done, and how we should help

Tom Young

If you boil a kettle twice today, you will have used five times more electricity than a person in Mali uses in a whole year. How can that be possible?

Decades after the colonial powers withdrew Africa is still struggling to catch up with the rest of the world. When the same colonists withdrew from Asia there followed several decades of sustained and unprecedented growth throughout the continent. So what went wrong in Africa? And are we helping to fix it, or simply making matters worse?

In this provocative analysis, Tom Young argues that so much has been misplaced: our guilt, our policies, and our aid. Human rights have become a cover for imposing our values on others, our shiniest infrastructure projects have fuelled corruption and our interference in domestic politics has further entrenched conflict. Only by radically changing how we think about Africa can we escape this vicious cycle.

  • Publication date: March 5, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786074966
  • RRP: £10.99
  • Pages: 240
  • Publication date: March 1, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781786070647
  • RRP: £5.99
  • Pages: 240


‘A book urging us to re-examine the ways in which the West offers economic assistance to African nations could hardly arrive at a more opportune moment…It’s a difficult and troubling subject, and Young’s solution to the manifest problems won’t please everyone. But now, more than ever, alternatives to the status quo need a public airing.’

Geographical Magazine

‘At times controversial, Tom Young issues a compelling case for the West to take a more honest approach to the continent. There is no doubt that his argument needs to be heard.’

Ian Taylor, Professor in International Relations and African Political Economy, University of St Andrews

Tom Young

Tom Young is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. He is the editor of Readings in African Politics.

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