Ute Schaeffer

Africa‘s Makers – Africa‘s Developers

Ute Schaeffer
Frankfurt/M.: Brandes u. Apsel, 2012
248 S.
ISBN 978-386099-891-5

In ”Reportagen zur afrikanischen Gegenwart” (“Reports on Africa today”), Ute Schaeffer takes stock of the many years she spent as chief editor of the German Radio Service’s Africa programme. Her reports on various African countries form the basis for these texts on politics, society and economy; in many cases she also falls back on reports by colleagues.

In exemplary fashion, she describes the immense problems on the continent in terms of politics, society and economics while emphasizing an increased self-initiative and a growing resistance among the citizens in African countries who have had enough of despotism, violence and exploitation. Today the autocrats in Zimbabwe and Uganda as well as the kleptocrats of the Ivory Coast are faced with increasing resistance, the money and power hungry politicians that stir up hatred between different political groups can no longer expect immunity from prosecution and against all odds, the brave leader of the independent election commission in civil war stricken Sierra Leone still arranged a fair election.

Even in conflict regions of the continent where violence and anarchy have led to the disintegration of government order, solidarity and self-initiative have filled the populations with cautious optimism. On the one hand, the globalized economy has led to new forms of exploitation, such as land theft by international companies for cultivating organic fuel. But on the other hand, there are also signs of an economic upswing in countries such as Rwanda that were still devastated a few years ago.

Today, international companies are investing in Africa and even McKinsey in his 2010 Africa report speaks of ambitious “lion states”. Whether declarations such as these reflect real development or are rather inspired by forced optimism, “Africa will find its own way”, according to the author. And it has little to do with whatever our development helpers may think up or what macro-economists predict.

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