Academic journal article Africa Policy Journal

The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa

Academic journal article Africa Policy Journal

The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa

Article excerpt

The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa by dayo Olopade (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

rEViEWEd by ALiciA OLAyinKA bELLO

dayo Olopade's first book is a buoyant foray into the ingenuities that make the African continent tick. Olopade contends that our preoccupation with formal institutions and processes ignores the continent's greatest assets. While few will dispute the current deficiency in African governance, The Bright Continent argues that services are being delivered through a mixture of perseverance and creativity. Olopade terms this entrepreneurial spirit "kanju"-a Yoruba word that means to "be in a hurry" or to "make haste." Africans across the continent are circumventing the failures of their governments and leapfrogging their development. Over the course of three years, Olopade travels across the continent to get firsthand accounts of the uniquely African innovations that are changing the face of the continent. The result is a riveting collection of well-researched vignettes about thriving social entrepreneurship in the midst of adversity. Such stories include: Umande Trust, a Kenyan organization that creates public toilets which convert human waste into biogas; Virtual City, a mobile solution for supply chain management in agriculture; and Sproxil, a SMS platform for identifying and reporting counterfeit medication. Olopade suggests that by looking to family networks, technology, business, geography, and favorable demographics, we can begin to identify the most dynamic and authentic African institutions.

However, "haste" has its costs, and at times Olopade's optimism borders on the precipice of peril. Like the infamous parable of the frog in boiling water, adapting to dysfunction can have deadly consequences. For example, she describes the parade of vehicles crisscrossing the continent for Google's Street View project and compares it to the bigoted and egotistical practices of European cartographers of centuries past. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.