Gobewole (Liberia’s Political Economy, 2016) argues for changes in African economic policy in this analytical work.
Despite its wealth of natural resources, African nations remain among the world’s poorest, with high rates of poverty and low rates of literacy. This wealth imbalance is, in part, the product of historical colonialism, but Gobewole argues that it’s also due to modern practices, such as resource extraction; the neoliberal economic policies of international organizations, such as the WTO and World Bank, including deregulation and privatization; and corruption in African governments. The author uses the latest data on African economies to diagnose problems and suggest a new way forward. He specifically argues that African governments should enact protectionist policies at either the national or regional level to keep their resources inside their countries and encourage the growth of native industries: “Such an approach,” Gobewole writes, “would allow African nations to effectively manage and navigate the global economy, while giving them time to improve their technical skills, managerial concepts, and production processes.” These stronger African industries would, in turn, lead to higher levels of education and improved standards of living. Gobewole writes in a clear, if specialized, prose, frequently providing citations for research and theories of his sources. Although the reading experience itself is rather dry, the information itself is weighty and sometimes quite absorbing. Gobewole makes his points with precision and documents his thought processes along the way. He writes with compassion and common sense, reminding readers of their own complicity, however distant, in the current state of Africa’s economies while also encouraging its nations toward a more self-determinative strategy.
A thorough and thoughtful response to the problem of poverty in Africa.