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African Arguments series

African Arguments is a series of short books about contemporary Africa and the critical issues and debates surrounding the continent. The books are scholarly and engaged, substantive and topical.

African Arguments Online

Books and the topics introduced in the series are promoted through a dedicated site. Hosted by the Royal African Society, this aims to be the site of the most vigorous debates on Africa available on the web.

See africanarguments.org for further details or to contribute to the African Arguments blog, or contact African Arguments editor, 

Africa has long been the locus and the focus for the most impassioned and intellectually-informed debates. But for many years, specialist Africa coverage in the world’s media has been in decline, alongside the withering of many African journals and magazines that used to provide a forum for debate and opinion. With the launch of African Arguments Online we intend to fill this gap.

Series editors

Adam Branch
Alex de Waal
Richard Dowden
Alcinda Honwana

Editorial board

Emmanuel Akyeampong
Tim Allen
Akwe Amosu
Breyten Breytenbach
Peter da Costa
William Gumede
Abdul Mohammed
Robert Molteno

This series is published in association with the Royal African Society and the World Peace Foundation, Tufts University.

The Royal African Society is Britain's prime Africa organisation. Now more than 100 years old, its in-depth, long-term knowledge of the continent and its peoples makes the Society the first stop for anyone wishing to know more about the continent. RAS fosters a better understanding of Africa in the UK and throughout the world - its history, politics, culture, problems and potential. RAS disseminates this knowledge and insight and celebrates the diversity and depth of African culture.

The World Peace Foundation, founded in 1910, is located at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. The Foundation's mission is to promote innovative research and teaching, believing that these are critical to the challenges of making peace around the world, and should go hand in hand with advocacy and practical engagement with the toughest issues. Its central theme is ‘reinventing peace’ for the 21st century.  

Zed booksThis series is published with Zed Books, the home of radical international publishing, with a long record of publishing on the African continent.

The series is distributed in North America by University of Chicago Press

For enquiries, and to submit a proposal, contact Stephanie Kitchen, managing editor, .

 

African Arguments series

BerwoutsWomen and the War on Boko Haram Hilary Matfess

For well over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the group shocked the world when it abducted 276 girls en masse from a school in rural Chibok, and the resulting #BringBackOurGirls movement attracted support and solidarity from around the globe. Yet as Hilary Matfess shows, Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781786991454, 192pp, November 2017

African Arguments series

BerwoutsCongo's Violent Peace: Conflict and Struggle Since the Great African War Kris Berwouts

Despite a massive investment of international diplomacy and money in recent years, the Democratic Republic of Congo remains a conflict-ridden and volatile country, its present situation the result of a series of rebellions, international interventions and unworkable peace agreements.

Leading DRC expert Kris Berwouts provides the most comprehensive and in-depth account to date of developments since the so-called 'Congo Wars' – from Rwanda's destructive impact on security in Eastern Congo to the controversial elections of 2006 and 2011; the M23 uprising to Joseph Kabila's increasingly desperate attempts to cling to power.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781783603695, 256pp, July 2017

African Arguments series

LombardState of Rebellion: violence and intervention in the Central African Republic
Louisa Lombard

In 2012, a wave of violence swept through the Central African Republic as Seleka rebels clashed with anti-Balaka militias. In the face of seemingly senseless bloodshed, journalists, politicians, and scholars struggled to account for the conflict’s origins. In this first comprehensive account of the violence, Louisa Lombard argues that the conflict was more than a straightforward religious clash between Christians and Muslims. Instead, she traces the roots of the conflict to fears of spiritual insecurity and a social breakdown that drove inter-communal violence.

Placing the uprising within its broader social, cultural, and historical context , Lombard reveals the complicated roles played by marginalized rural youths, local political leaders, and the global community in sustaining the conflict, and she offers an urgent corrective to our perceptions of this little-understood country, making a compelling case for international leaders to rethink their approach to resolving the conflict.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781783608843, 300pp, November 2016

African Arguments series

EbolaEbola: how a people's science helped end an African epidemic
Paul Richards

From December 2013, the largest Ebola outbreak in history swept across West Africa, claiming thousands of lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. By the middle of 2014, the international community was gripped by hysteria. Experts grimly predicted that millions would be infected within months, and a huge international control effort was mounted to contain the virus. Yet paradoxically, by this point the disease was already going into decline in Africa itself. So why did outside observers get it so wrong? Paul Richards draws on his extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone to argue that the international community’s panicky response failed to take account of local expertise and common sense. Crucially, Richards shows that the humanitarian response to the disease was most effective in those areas where it supported these initiatives – such as giving local people agency in terms of disposing of bodies – and actually hampered recovery when it ignored or disregarded local knowledge. An essential account of what actually occurred during the Ebola outbreak, and its implications for harnessing the power of local communities for future humanitarian health crises.

Paul Richards is an anthropologist with over forty-five years’ experience of living and working in West Africa, having conducted fieldwork in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. He is emeritus professor of technology and agrarian development at Wageningen University. His previous books include No Peace, No War and Fighting for the Rainforest.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781783608584, 256 pp, September 2016

African Arguments series

trefonCongo's Environmental Paradox: potential and predation in a land of plenty
Theodore Trefon

 Congo has the natural resources the world needs. Its forests count in the fight against global climate change and its mining sector helps satisfy our addiction to the latest high tech gadgets. Congo’s farmers could feed all of Africa’s population of over a billion people. The Inga hydroelectric site has the potential to light up the entire continent. These realities are redefining the country’s strategic place in a globalized world. Telling a different story about power and nature, Congo’s Environmental Paradox examines the dynamics of this huge country’s forest, mining, land, water and oil sectors in an integrated way. It connects the dots by emphasizing resource diversity, interlinkages and the complex nature of these sectors. Congo’s incredible natural wealth has the potential to contribute to development in this troubled central African country – but structural problems, cultural factors, poor governance and predation remain serious challenges. Clearly written, full of environmental facts and analyses, this volume is a must-read for anyone interested in development and the political economy of natural resource management in Africa.

An invaluable contribution – a truly remarkable synthesis of the pathways to Congolese economic improvement and the many roadblocks along the way. The succinct and sparkling summation of the key elements of the political economy is most useful. The author's capacity to convey a rich treasure chest of information and acute analytical skills make this a landmark work. – Crawford Young, University of Wisconsin

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN: 9781783602438, 176 pp, May 2016

African Arguments series

Jreven

Africa: why economists get it wrong
Morten Jerven

Morten Jerven seeks to fundamentally reframe the debate around African economics, challenging mainstream accounts. Whilst for the past two decades experts have focused on explaining why there has been a ‘chronic failure of growth’ in Africa, Jerven shows that African economies grew rapidly in the 50s, the 1960s, and even into the 1970s. And most African economies have been growing at a rapid pace since the mid-90s. Therefore African states were dismissed as incapable of development based largely on observations made during the 1980s and early 1990s. The result has been misguided analysis and policy.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781783601325, 176pp, June 2015

African Arguments series

Hicks

Africa’s New Oil: power, pipelines and future fortune
Celeste Hicks

In recent years, technological advances, higher commodity prices and an insatiable global thirst for energy have meant that African oil is increasingly in demand. Countries as far apart as Niger, Uganda, Chad, Ghana and Kenya are looking at the prospect of almost unimaginable flows of money into their national budgets.

But the story of African oil has usually been associated with conflict, corruption and disaster, with older producers such as Nigeria, Angola and Cameroon having little to show for the many billions of dollars they've earned. In this eye-opening book, former BBC correspondent Celeste Hicks questions the inevitability of the so-called 'resource curse', revealing what the discovery of oil means for ordinary Africans, and how China's involvement threatens a profound change in Africa's relationship with the West.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781783601127, 224pp, April 2015

African Arguments series

Branch

Africa Uprising: popular protest and political change
Adam Branch and Zachariah Mampilly

From Tunisia and Egypt, to Uganda and Sudan, to Nigeria and Senegal, African cities have seen uprisings by youth and unemployed, as well as by organized labour, civil society activists, writers and artists, and religious groups.

Drawing on interviews and in-depth analysis from Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia, Branch and Mampilly explore what is driving this new wave of popular protest in Africa, situating the current popular activism within its broader historical and continental context. Melding analyses of Africa's incorporation into the global economy, the failure of African governments to truly democratize, the actions of opposition forces both formal and informal, and the role of African popular culture, the authors provide insight into understanding African politics today.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books

ISBN: 9781780329970, 272pp, March 2015

African Arguments series

Land Grabs

The Great African Land Grab? Agricultural Investment and the Global Food System
Lorenzo Cotula

Large-scale land acquisitions in Africa have stoked controversy, making headlines in media reports across the world. Dubbed ‘land grabs’, these have become one of the most talked about and contentious topics amongst those studying, working in or writing about Africa. Some commentators have welcomed the trend as a bearer of new livelihood opportunities while others have pointed to negative social impacts, including loss of local land rights, threats to local food security, and marginalisation of small-scale farming. Lorenzo Cotula, one of the leading experts in the field, casts a critical eye over the most reliable evidence available on this hotly contested topic, examining the implications of land deals in Africa for its people, for world agriculture and food.

 

ISBN: 9781780324203 256pp.  July 2013

African Arguments series

Democratic  Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair

Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair
Michael Deibert

Over the past decade and a half, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been at the centre of the deadliest series of conflicts since the Second World War, and now hosts the largest United Nations peacekeeping mission in the world. Featuring a wealth of remarkable on-the-ground reportage and first-hand interviews acclaimed journalist Michael Deibert paints a compelling picture of a nation in flux, inching towards peace but solidifying into what may prove to be another era of authoritarian rule.

 

ISBN 9781780323459 176pp. December 2013

African Arguments series

Sexuality an Social Justice in Africa

Youth and Revolution in Tunisia
Alcinda Honwana

The uprising in Tunisia in late 2010 and early 2011 kick-started the series of upheavals across the region now known as the Arab Spring. In this remarkable work, Alcinda Honwana, who was herself in Tunisia at the time of the revolution, goes beyond superficial accounts of what occurred to explore the defining role of the country's youth. Drawing on fresh, first-person testimony from those who shaped events, the book describes in detail the experiences of young activists through the 29 days of the revolution and the challenges they encountered after the fall of the regime and the dismantling of the ruling party.

 

 

ISBN 978-1780324616 160pp. July 2013

African Arguments series

Sexuality and Social Justice in AfricaSexuality an Social Justice in Africa
Marc Epprecht

The persecution of people in Africa on the basis of their assumed or perceived homosexual orientation has received considerable coverage in the popular media in recent years. Gay-bashing by high political and religious figures in Zimbabwe and Gambia; draconian new laws against lesbians and gays and their supporters in Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda; the imprisonment and extortion of gay men in Senegal and Cameroon; and so-called corrective rapes of lesbians in South Africa have all rightly sparked international condemnation. However, much of the analysis thus far has been highly critical of African leadership and culture without considering local nuances, historical factors and external influences that are contributing to the problem. Such commentary also overlooks grounds for optimism and the role played by lgbti and HIV/AIDS activism in the struggle for sexual rights and justice in Africa, not just for sexual minorities but for the majority population as well.

Marc Epprecht is a Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University, Canada.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN 9781780323817 208pp. June 2013

African Arguments series

Africa and the War on DrugsAfrica and the War on Drugs
Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig

Nigerian drug lords, khat-chewing Somali pirates, crystal meth-smoking gangs controlling South Africa’s streets and narco-traffickers corrupting Guinea-Bissau: these are some of the vivid images surrounding drugs in Africa which in recent years have alarmed policymakers, academics and the general public. In this revealing and original book on an overlooked front of the so-called war on drugs, the authors show how foreign-inspired policies have failed to help African drug users who require medical support while strengthening corrupt and brutal law enforcement officers.

…offers a devastating challenge to the war on drugs and its apologists. – Jonny Steinberg

Neil Carrieris a researcher based at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford.

Gernot Klantshnig is Assistant Professor in International Studies at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN 9781848139664 186pp. October 2012

African Arguments series

Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State
Mary Harper

Harper

Somalia is a comprehensively failed state, representing a threat to itself, its neighbours and the wider world. In recent years, it has become notorious for the piracy off its coast and the rise of Islamic extremism, opening it up as a new 'Southern front' in the war on terror. At least that is how it is inevitably presented by politicians and in the media. Mary Harper argues however that viewing Somalia through the prism of al-Qaeda risks further destabilizing the country and the entire Horn of Africa, She also shows that Somalia is far from being a failed society: in reality, alternative forms of business, justice, education and local politics have survived and even flourished.

The most accessible and accurate account available of the contemporary Somali world, pirates and all. – Ioan Lewis

Read a series of reviews commissioned by the World Peace Foundation.

Mary Harper is Africa Editor for BBC World Service News.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN 978-1842779330, 139 pp, February 2012

African Arguments series

Africa's Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent
Leonce Ndikumana and James Boyce

Africa's Odious Debts

The extent of capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa is remarkable: more than $700 billion in the past four decades. But Africa s foreign assets remain private and hidden, while its foreign debts are public, owed by the people of Africa through their governments. This book reveals the intimate links between foreign loans and capital flight. More than half of the money borrowed by African governments in recent decades departed in the same year, with a significant portion of it winding up in private accounts at the very banks that provided the loans in the first place. Meanwhile, debt-service payments continue to drain scarce resources from Africa, cutting into funds available for public health and other needs. The authors argue that African governments should repudiate these odious debts from which their people derived no benefit, and that the international community should assist in this effort.

James K. Boyce and Leonce Ndikumana are both professors of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN 9781848134591 160pp, October 2011

African Arguments series

Congo Masquerade. The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure
Theodore Trefon

Congo Masquerade

Congo Masquerade is about mismanagement, hypocrisy and powerlessness in what has proved to be one of Africa's most troublesome and volatile states. In this scathing study of catastrophic aid inefficiency, Trefon argues that whilst others have examined war and plunder in the Great Lakes region, none have yet evaluated the imported 'template format' reform package pieced together to introduce democracy and improve the well-being of ordinary Congolese. It has, the book demonstrates, been for years an almost unmitigated failure due to the ingrained political culture of corruption amongst the Congolese elite, abetted by the complicity and incompetence of international partners.

Theodore Trefon is a Congo expert specializing in the politics of state-society relations. He heads the Contemporary History Section of the Belgian Royal Museum for Central Africa.

Published for the IAI by Zed Books.

ISBN: 9781848138360, 160pp, September 2011

African Arguments series

Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West AfricaOrla Ryan
Orla Ryan

Chocolate is one of the world's most everyday luxuries, yet the story behind the chocolate bar is rarely one of luxury. The crop provides a lifeline for millions of farmers in West Africa, which produces about 70% of the world's cocoa and is crucial to the economies of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Chocolate Nations examines the causes of farmer poverty, placing the story of these producers in the context of the commodity producers' global battle to make more money from their crops. Includes accounts from cocoa farmers and chocolate industry insiders, and addresses such crucial issues as child labour, speculation and the ineffectiveness of Fair Trade as a catch-all solution.

Read a review of this book published in the Guardian here.

Orla Ryan is a freelance journalist based in London. She previously worked for the BBC, and as a journalist in Africa. In recent years she worked for Reuters in Ghana, where she covered the West African cocoa sector.

ISBN: 9781848130050, 200pp, Jan 2011

African Arguments series

Struggles for Citizenship in Africa
Bronwen Manby

Struggles for Citizenship in Africa

Hundreds of thousands of people living in Africa find themselves non-citizens in the only state they have ever known. Ultimately such policies can lead to economic and political disaster, and war. This book brings together new material from across Africa of the most egregious examples of citizenship discrimination, and makes the case for urgent reform of the law.

Ever more people in Africa are excluded from citizenship through a complex intertwinement of colonial categorizations and post-colonial political tricks, coupled with mounting xenophobia… Bronwen Manby and her team offer a deeper understanding of the complex backgrounds and striking variations involved, vividly evoking the plights of millions who have to do without any state protection. A most convincing testimony to the urgency of this issue. – Peter Geschiere.

Bronwen Manby works with the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP), an initiative of the Open Society Institute network's four African foundations.

9781848133525, 208pp. Aug 2009

African Arguments series

Climate Change in Africa
Camilla Toulmin

Camilla Toulmin

Global warming above the level of two degrees Celsius would be enormously damaging for poorer parts of the world, leading to crises with crops, livestock, water supplies and coastal areas. Within Africa, it is likely to be the continent's poorest people who are hit hardest. In this accessible and authoritative introduction to an often-overlooked aspect of the environment, Camilla Toulmin uses case studies to look at issues ranging from natural disasters to biofuels, and from conflict to the oil industry. Finally, the book addresses what future there might be for Africa in a carbon-constrained world.

Camilla Toulmin is Director of the International Institute for Environment & Development.

ISBN 9781848130159 c.160pp. Sept 2009

African Arguments series

The Trouble with Aid. Why Less Could Mean More for Africa
Jonathan Glennie

Jonathan Glennie

Jonathan Glennie's excellent and immensely readable book presents a compelling case not to demand ever more aid, but rather to seek the more fundamental changes in the global economy which could reduce dependency on aid and contribute to the ultimate eradication of poverty.

'At last a book that speaks frankly to the fundamentals of aid and how it is delivered. Ignore this book at your peril; this is an issue we cannot relegate to the sidelines of development.' - Charles Mutasa, Director, Africa Forum and Network on Development and Debt (AFRODAD)

Jonathan Glennie is a senior policy analyst at Christian Aid.

ISBN 978184813040 c.200pp. Nov 2008

African Arguments series

Life after Violence. A People’s Story of Burundi
Peter Uvin

Peter Uvin

Burundi emerged from twelve years of devastating civil war with its economy destroyed and hundreds and thousands of people killed. In this book, the voices of ordinary Burundians are heard for the first time. Farmers, artisans, traders, mothers, soldiers and students talk about the past and the future, war and peace, their hopes for a better life and their relationships with each other and the state. Young men, in particular, often seen as the cause of violence and war, talk about the difficulties of living up to standards of masculinity in an impoverished and war-torn society.

The author pitches the ideas and aspirations of people on the ground against the theory and assumptions often made by the international development and peace-building agencies and organizations. Both shared goals and misunderstandings are revealed, opening perspectives on conflict, society and development in Africa and across the world.

Read a review of this book in the Washington Post

Peter Uvin is the Henry J. Leir Professor of International Humanitarian Studies and Academic Dean at the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

ISBN 9781848131804, c.200pp. Nov 2008

African Arguments series

Britain in Africa
Tom Porteous

Tom Porteous

This book seeks to answer questions about Britain’s role in Africa and the policies of the Labour government since 1997. It considers the interests the UK is seeking to uphold, the impact of the tripling of aid to Africa in the shadows of the ‘war on terror’ and the war in Iraq.

'This is the most helpful and illuminating book on a Western country's foreign policy in Africa for a very long time. Porteous takes us behind the scenes into the policy world itself. Rarely have such intricacies been conveyed so compellingly.' – Jane Guyer, Johns Hopkins University

Tom Porteous is the London Director of Human Rights Watch.

ISBN 9781842779767, 158pp. 2008

African Arguments series

Darfur. A New History of a Long War
Julie Flint and Alex de Waal

Julie Flint and Alex de Waal

Two authors with unparalleled experience of Darfur investigate a complex and fascinating story of a remarkable and remote region of Africa, and its war of hideous proportions, which the United Nations has deemed ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’. The book details the history of Darfur, its conflicts, and the designs on the region by the governments in Khartoum and Tripoli, the infamous ‘Janjawid’ militia, the nature of the insurrection launched by two rebel groups, the radical Sudan Liberation Army and the more Islamist-oriented Justics and Equity Movement. It charts the unfolding crisis and the confused international response, including the African Union’s first major venture into peacemaking and peacekeeping, outlining what the future may hold for the region.

Julie Flint is a journalist and filmmaker who has been writing about Sudan since 1992.

Alex de Waal is a writer and activist on African issues. He is a programme director at the Social Science Research Council and a fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

'This is among the best works available on the current Darfur crisis. For a blow by blow account of developments, there is none better.' – Mahmood Mamdani, University of Columbia

ISBN 9781842779507, 336pp. May 2008

African Arguments series

China in Africa
Chris Alden

Chris Alden

This book investigates the emerging relationship between China and Africa. Alden argues that in order to understand Chinese involvement on the continent, we need to recognize the range of economic, diplomatic and security rationales behind Beijing’s Africa policy, as well as the response of African elites to China’s entreaties.

‘In this elegant and engaging study, Chris Alden brings together the key pieces that define the complex mosaic of China's recent engagement in Africa. Analytically sophisticated and drawing on an impressive vein of evidence, this book must be welcomed both as an illuminating account and for its measured judgment.' - Garth le Pere, Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa

Chris Alden is Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics.

ISBN 9781842778647, 154pp. 2007

African Arguments series

The United States in Africa. Bush Policy and Beyond
Raymond W. Copson

Raymond W. Copson

This book contests the rhetorical claims of the US administration that it is bringing peace, democracy and development to Africa, arguing that US policy falls well short of meeting standards of fairness and justice.

‘…cogently and succinctly dissects US President George W. Bush's array of policy initiatives toward Africa from 2001 to early 2007. One by one, the initiatives come under the knife and are cut to pieces…a great pleasure to read.’ – African Affairs

Raymond Copson is an independent scholar specializing in African affairs and US-Africa relations.

ISBN 9781842779156, 170pp. 2007

African Arguments series

Trial Justice. The International Criminal Court and the Lord's Resistance Army
Tim Allen

Tim Allen

Drawing on field research in Uganda, this book illustrates how the International Criminal Court ran into serious problems with its first big case on northern Uganda. The ICC has confronted outright hostility from a wide range of groups, including traditional leaders, representatives of the Catholic and Anglican Churches, and non-governmental organizations. For many, the Court is spoiling the peace process and is making continued warfare and suffering more likely. This book argues that much of the antipathy to the ICC is based upon ignorance and misconception. It shows that victims are much more interested in punitive international justice than has been suggested.

‘A seminal work that carefully evaluates the conflict that has raged in the region for nearly twenty years. Allen is an anthropologist...who has been working in Northern Uganda for some time. His work, therefore, is of significant value. He is one of a handful of authors...whose writing is supported by a deep knowledge and clear understanding of both the social complexities and the political realities of the region.' – Joanna Quinn, Transitional Justice Forum

Tim Allen is a Reader at the London School of Economics and Programme Director of the post-graduate programme in Development Studies.

ISBN 9781842777374, 176pp. 2006

African Arguments series

Aids and Power. Why there is no political crisis - yet
Alex de Waal

Alex de Waal

The HIV/AIDS crisis is a stunning cataclysm, plunging life expectancy to pre-modern levels and orphaning millions of children. Yet political trauma does not grip Africa. People living with AIDS are not rioting in the streets or overthrowing governments. In fact, democratic governance is spreading. AIDS and Power explains how political leaders have successfully managed the AIDS epidemic so as to overcome any threats to their power. Partly because of pervasive denial, AIDS is not a political priority for electorates, and therefore not for democratic leaders either.

Meantime, AIDS activists have not directly challenged the political order, instead using international networks to promote a rights-based approach to tackling the epidemic.

In contrast, both African governments and international agencies have a sorry record of tackling the epidemic and public health crisis itself. The study concludes that without political incentives, this failure will persist.

Alex de Waal is a writer and activist on African issues. He is a programme director at the Social Science Research Council and a fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

ISBN 9781842777077, 147pp. 2006