Rescue Thyself: Change in Sub-Sahara Africa Must Come From Within, by Sylvanus Adetokunboh Ayeni ISBN 9780761868910
Five out of five stars
There is no question that the condition of the populations of the nations of Africa south of the Sahara Desert is appalling. Despite billions of dollars of aid being supplied by wealthier nations and a general abundance of natural resources, most of the people barely survive on a few dollars a day. The overwhelming majority of the poorest nations on Earth are in this region and development project after development project has failed miserably.
The author is a native Nigerian and offers an obvious, yet extremely difficult solution to the seemingly hopeless cycle of poverty in those nations. A change in the actions of the small leadership class. In most of those nations, rising to a high position in the government is a license to loot the treasury and place trusted cronies in subordinate positions where they can do the same. People at all levels of the government feel no mandate to operate the country for the people.
As is always the case when the solution is a major change, the question becomes, “How can it be implemented?” People in positions where the historical record is that they will earn millions will not easily give up such opportunities. Ayeni relies on logical, moral and religious arguments and political forces emanating from the bottom up. He also issues an appeal to the leaders to embrace and act on their responsibilities to the governed. The arguments Ayeni puts forward remind me of some of the actions in the historical record of the enlightened despots. Absolute monarchs that nevertheless did things that improved the lives of the people they ruled.
This is an interesting book, both optimistic and pessimistic. Pessimistic in the sense that the reader is reminded of how much money has been invested with little improvement, yet optimistic in the sense that new technologies are making revolutionary change possible. So there is hope.