n AFFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society - Looting Africa : The Economics of Exploitation, Patrick Bond : book review

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-4936
  • E-ISSN: 2075-6534


The book starts with an extensive discussion on the origins, preservation, and perpetuation of systemic and carefully considered plundering of Africa over the centuries. At the very outset, Bond grapples with the question why is Africa poor ultimately? He then offers two explanations in an attempt to provide a meaningful answer. He draws from the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Commission for Africa which argues that "Africa is poor, ultimately, because its economy has not grown" and in order for the economy to grow "the public and private sectors need to work together to create a climate which unleashes the entrepreneurship of the peoples of Africa, generates employment and encourages individuals and firms, domestic and foreign, to invest". From the commission's perspective, it is clear that for Africa to develop economically it needs to adopt market-friendly policies with enthusiasm. For Bond Africa remains the most underdeveloped region in the world "because its economy and society have been ravaged by international capital as well as by local elites who are often propped up by foreign powers". He notes that the ending of apartheid did not change South Africa from being "the Northern imperialist countries' junior ally" that is "willing to play the role of a sub-imperialist for them". In essence, Bond's thesis is that Africa's economic situation is deteriorating because of a conspiracy by elites from Northern countries and those from post-independent Africa.

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