Cover Image: Africa First

Africa First

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Member Reviews

Thoroughly disappointing, a wonderful premise but the constant references to 'Africa' as a whole, despite the wide disparity per country let alone as a continent was missing. Perhaps a chapter per country breaking down everything vs presenting development as a shared effort. Idealistic but wholly unrealistic.

Thank you netgalley for the  ARC.
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I always find myself very excited to know about different countries' literature and culture. But Africa is special amongst all to me. Their dynamic culture always have impressed me from the beginning when I came to know about them. Still one question may haunt us all Africa lovers. That - being fulfilled with so much natural resources and unlimited potential why Africa isn't a leading economical giant in the world economy? This book, Africa First: Igniting a growth revolution by Jakkie Cilliers answers that question very befittingly. From why Africa is lagging behind with the current path, Africa's population problem, climate change, industrial problems, urbanisation, health-water-hygiene scenario to education system, agriculture, poverty, productivity, technological innovation, trading growth, prospects of peace, democracy & development and their problems with suitable solutions - this book covers it all to provide the route map for Africa to be a global giant in Economy. With thoroughly well researched data and hundreds of colourful graphs, tables and figures this book surely provides  a definitive approach to quench any Africa lovers' thirst for the knowledge of current African scenario.

I highly recommend this book to any Nonfiction fan and also to Africa lovers. From me, this book is a four star read.

It was an ARC from NetGalley and I heartily thank for it both Netgalley and Jonathan Ball Publishers. Thanks for this amazing read.🌼
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This book is definitely one best suited for readers interested in public policy and development studies.  Cilliers captures a solid snapshot of the African continent as it exists today, looks at trends in a number of different areas, and seeks solutions for the most troubling areas--demography, labor productivity, economics, climate change, international aid (which appears to be lessening), political violence, and so on.

That being said, Cilliers has an unabashedly positive vision of the potential held by the African continent and his optimism is infectious.  I never had doubts about this before, but I feel a bit more secure in this view.

One of the weak points of Cilliers's analysis is that the vast majority of his solutions come from the angle of public policy or state-building.  While there are some suggestions for private companies, this is much more muted compared to advice for policy-makers.  I'm hesitant about this sort of approach because, while states are powerful forces that are capable of doing a great deal, there are other factors at play that may have a much larger role.  For instance, community is one component that immediately comes to mind.  The rapid urbanization of many African cities leads to sprawling, anonymous metropolises.  Might some of these problems be better solved by community engagement--whether it be by religious groups, organizations, NGOs, or something else?  To me, this seems like a major blindspot.

In addition, Cilliers's text seems a bit "thin."  While there is a massive amount of information here rooted in statistics and data, there is very little human component involved.  I know that a personal view of Africa is not the book that Cilliers was trying to write--instead he's diagnosing problems and offering solutions--but some sort of "thick description," or anecdotes with real people and analyses showing the larger pictures, would go a long way.

One final qualm with my personal copy is that my digital edition of this text did not show any graphs or figures.  The graphs and figures clearly existed, but either Kindle was unable to show them or the .mobi file that NetGalley sent did not have them fully embedded.  This is not a make-or-break critique, but it was something that I noticed.
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