By Robert K. Hitchcock
The continent of Africa is often seen as a continent in decline, one in which droughts, famine, disease, poverty, failed states, economic stagnation and poorly thought-out development projects are pervasive. As Jared Diamond asked in his recent book, “Collapse” (2005), “Is the African continent doomed eternally to wars, poverty, and devastating diseases? I think not.” All one has to do is to look at book titles: “Africa in Crisis,” “Fighting for the Rain Forest: War, Youth, and Resources in Sierra Leone,” “Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor,” and “Conflicts over Land and Water in Africa.” Africa was characterized by “The Economist” (May 13, 2000) as “the hopeless continent.” If one sees the film “Darwin’s Nightmare,” one cannot help but despair at the massive environmental, social and economic problems facing the populations residing in and around Lake Victoria. Yet Africa received only 3 percent of the world’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the early part of the new millennium.