Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Africa: The Politics of Water in Africa/Domestic Politics and Drought Relief in Africa: Explaining Choices

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Africa: The Politics of Water in Africa/Domestic Politics and Drought Relief in Africa: Explaining Choices

Article excerpt

The Politics of Water in Africa BY INGA M. JACOBS. Continuum, 2012, 256 pp. $130.00.

Domestic Politics and Drought Relief in Africa: Explaining Choices BY NGONIDZASHE MUNEMO. First Forum Press, 2012, 217 pp. $59.95.

Conventional wisdom holds that the African wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over resources, especially water. These two very different books inform readers about the political implications of water-and of its absence. Jacobs' book focuses on the international cooperation that has developed around the management of two major river systems in Africa, the Nile River basin and the Orange River basin. She finds that an array of international conventions and conferences have allowed a set of norms to be progressively internalized by most of the states involved, despite a great deal of variation in the ability and willingness that those states bring to the task of managing shared water resources. Jacobs is thus reasonably optimistic about the role of s uch resources in encouraging international stability on the continent. She grants perhaps too much space to academic theories that will not interest the general reader, but her empirical materials are rich, and the book provides a good introduction to the international dimension of these issues. …

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