[UCP Books]: Season of Rains: Africa in the World

 

“A subversive masterpiece, undermining stereotypes of and about Africans.
Everyone interested in Africa should read it to give their assumptions an invigorating cold shower and to modify their own policies.”
Sir Edward Clay, former British High Commissioner to Kenya
 
“While African states since the ending of empire may not be exemplars of sovereign virtue and while some may remain seemingly bottomless pits for the rich world’s largesse, they are, nonetheless, integral parts of the planet’s social, political, economic, and natural environment. What happens in Africa matters for everyone,
 not just Africans.”
Adam Ashforth, University of Michigan
 

Season of Rains

Africa in the World
by Stephen Ellis

With a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
 

Publication Date: April 1, 2012 Cloth ISBN-13: 978-0-226-20559-5 /$25.00
   

 
Rebels kidnap peacekeepers. Mediator to attempt to end election impasse. Dispute over oil pipeline threatens temporary peace. A skim of the international headlines pertaining to Africa only reinforces our sense that it is a continent beyond the brink—that poverty, disease, and violent conflict have rendered it a lost cause. Articles about Africa’s growth are buried on the page, if mentioned at all. But railways are being built in Sierra Leone. Automobile factories and research facilities are being built in South Africa and Kenya. Solar and hydropower projects are underway throughout the continent. Africa is actually booming, and it is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world. In Season of Rains, Stephen Ellis urges us not to turn our back on Africa at this pivotal time, but to try to understand it in all its complexity—it is a region where growth and prosperity coexist with failed states.

In this engaging, accessible book, Ellis captures the broad spectrum of political, economic, and social foundations that make Africa what it is today. As he assesses the challenges of African sovereignties, he is not under the illusion that governments will suddenly become more benevolent and less corrupt. Yet, he sees great dynamism in recent technological and economic developments. The proliferation of mobile phones alone has helped to overcome previous gaps in infrastructure, African retail markets are becoming integrated, and banking is expanding. Businesses from China and India as well as emerging powers from the West are investing more than ever before in the still land-rich region, and globalization is offering possibilities of enormous economic change for the growing population of one billion Africans, actively engaged in charting the future of their continent. All of these, Ellis argues, are reasons for cautious, but real, hope.
 
Stephen Ellis is a senior researcher at the African Studies Center in Leiden and the Desmond Tutu Professor in the social sciences at the Free University of Amsterdam.
 
He is available for interviews. Please contact Carrie Olivia Adams at 773-702-4216 or cadams@press.uchicago.edu for more information.

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