CAN AFRICA SURVIVE? by Basil Davidson


Email this review


Davidson is a well-known authority on Africa and a seductive one. This small book, however, proves rather disappointing. Much of it is devoted to a polemic against the idea that the expansion of one-crop exports has anything to do with expansion of real wealth and sound economic structures. Not only have prices fallen for those exports, but the institutional setting and distribution of income in Black Africa make it profoundly unsuited to any present or future ""takeoff"" into modern capitalism. ""African socialism"" is a beggarly fraud, and barriers to African unity remain as strongly in force as they did under direct colonial rule. Davidson stresses that the fate of the continent is bound up with that of the advanced sector; but he devotes only one sentence to the capital drain of Africa through debt service, and he quite ignores the recent and future arrival of grave famine. Instead the book ends with praise of Tanzania and commendation of the Angolan freedom fighters' efforts at consciousness-raising. To raise one's consciousness one must be alive; outspoken as he is Davidson understates the intensity of what he calls the African crisis.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 1974
Publisher: Little, Brown--A.M.P.