Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Saving Africa by N Timoleon Amessa

Saving Africa by N Timoleon Amessa
Published in the UK by Matador in June 2017.

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Saving Africa investigates the root causes of underdevelopment in developing countries, particularly in post-colonial Africa. It also identifies the factors that inhibit progress: the cultural barriers to development; the political instability and the inappropriate choice of political system that has hampered the development of so many African countries; the economic problems plaguing Africa, especially in the three main sectors of the economy: agriculture, industry, and the service economy. 

It looks at the effect on the social life of African people and cultural factors, such as the difficulty in reconciling traditional customs and practices with the western way of life, and considers how the economy and political systems currently in place add to these problems. 

It also uses the case of Cote D’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) as a prime example, and demonstrates how the legacy of colonial rule, and the scale of corruption among the political elite, coupled with lack of education, poor infrastructure, and rampant inefficiencies that constitute the problematic life in every African country. 

In response to this, it sets out a blueprint, a comprehensive roadmap for evolution. If implemented with commitment it will allow the people of Africa to enjoy the benefits of living in a modern society, with a working economy, a stable political system, and a culture that both preserves the best of its traditions and customs, and takes advantage of the opportunities offered by Western society. 

Saving Africa shows how one can transform the heavy legacy of centuries of colonial rule from a contemporary curse into a real future for Africa and its people.

I was disappointed by this book because, although it starts out with a few interesting-looking ideas, it doesn't really progress from that point. Amessa has strong opinions on the political direction Africa in its entirety should take however actually getting to those root ideas in this book is a slog. The writing is very long-winded. Every opinion is repeated several times and Amessa seems to continually turn in circles so the book is at least twice as long as it feels that it should be! I would have liked facts and statistics to back up the author's statements too. Sweeping untrue generalisations such as there being no African entrepreneurs - I have lent to dozens via Kiva - or that Britain is far more welcoming to immigrants than France - has he read the Daily Mail? - led me to doubt other of Amessa's assertions. I did struggle through pretty much to the end of Saving Africa, but am not convinced that I am much the wiser on this subject as a result.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by N Timolean Amessa / Politics / Books from the Ivory Coast


  1. It's so sad that this didn't pan out for you. After reading the blurb, I was so excited to put it on my TBR because it seemed like a good book that would explore the future of Africa and it's development but I'm not a fan of unnecessarily long books. I've read a few books (and series) that seem to drag on FOREVER with no direction that seem like the author is just trying to hit a page quota. It also sounds like this author didn't do much of any research which is an absolute must for a book of any caliber in any genre. I'm glad I read your review before adding it to my already overwhelming TBR!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I had high hopes for this one too and the early ideas are interesting but it just didn't develop them enough for me.

  2. Oh wow, I haven't see you give a low rating in a while! I am so sorry you couldn't enjoy it, especially as you had such high hopes when beginning the book :/