For many, Africa is still a place of mystery, and gloom and doom, where reports of natural disasters and civil strife dominate media attention, with relatively little publicity given to any of the continent 's more positive attributes. In 2005, it seems that Africa had at last begun to receive the depth of interest that it has long deserved, in the shape of the much-heralded G8 meeting, debates about trade, aid and debt, the Make Poverty History campaign, and the UK Commission on Africa . But, behind the superficial media fa ade, Africa is a diverse, complex and dynamic place, with a rich history and a colonial engagement that, although short-lived, was fundamental in determining the long-term future of the continent.
At the start of the twenty-first century, Africa is the world 's poorest continent. This book will both introduce and de-mystify Africa 's diversity and dynamism, and consider how its peoples and environments have interacted through time and space. The background and diversity of Africa 's social, cultural, economic, political and environmental systems will be examined, and the book will identify and elucidate the key development issues which have affected Africa in the past and are likely to be significant in shaping the future of the continent. These will include; the impact of HIV/AIDS, sources of conflict and post-conflict reconstruction, the state and governance, the nature of African economies in a global context, and future development trajectories.
With the increasing attention that Africa is now receiving, there is an urgent need for an up to date text that covers the entire continent, and not merely Sub-Saharan Africa, which is the focus of so many other books. With the benefit of the authors wide experience of Africa, Africa: Diversity and Development will present recent data and detailed case studies in a refreshing interdisciplinary approach which should both enhance understanding of the background to Africa 's current position, and also clarify possible future scenarios.
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