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Views from the Center


I’m thrilled that the 2nd edition of African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors is out this week.  Thanks to Chris Blattman at Yale, Callisto Madavo at Georgetown, and others who have used it in their courses, demand for the first 2007 edition was high enough that the terrific Lynne Rienner asked me to do an update.

Description: MDG : Getting out of poverty , Lusaka , Zambia : Doctors perform cataract surgeryPerhaps it’s the influence of cheery colleagues (like The Optimist, Charles Kenny), but you’ll definitely sense a more upbeat tone in this version—I guess four years can make a big difference!  The book also has all new data, new sections on topics like China and Africom, and another cover featuring the beautiful artwork of Victor Ekpuk.

What hasn’t changed is the point of the book: to give readers a simple jargon-free introduction to the issues and to share my enthusiasm for the continent.

The introductory chapter is downloadable here, and I hope it’ll give you a sense of the book’s style—and entice you to buy it.  The chapter also includes my Ten Tips for Sensibly Studying African Development:

1. No silver bullets.

2. Don’t believe the (good and bad) hype.

3. Resist the temptation to exoticize.

4. It’s always political.

5. Development is more than money.

6. Beware the “facts.”

7. Beware the numbers.

8. Keep perspective on Africa’s size.

9. Go deep.

10. Most of all, Go!

No promise for a 3rd edition, but I love to get feedback and suggestions.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.