Ideas to change Africa

MOELETSI Mbeki, despite the "burden" of being the brother of former president Thabo Mbeki, has managed to carve a niche for himself as a formidable intellectual and visionary as well as being a savvy businessman.

Mbeki is one of the most outspoken critics of his own continent.

Mbeki is also a journalist, private business entrepreneur, political commentator and author. He has published a number of stimulating books in which he has somewhat traced the socio-economic development of South Africa and the African states generally since independence.

He has presented thought-provoking analyses of pressing issues hampering growth and preventing the rise of millions of people out of poverty. He particularly identifies the question of leadership as one of the key factors holding African states back.

Criticism is one thing, however, but garnering solutions is another matter entirely. In this latest book - edited by Mbeki - he has put together hands-on suggestions on how to solve Africa's development challenges. Here we find hard-headed, rational analysis and innovative ideas which would hopefully bring about the transformation of an economy.

This book however, does not pretend to know all the solutions to change Africa's future. But in this book Mbeki relies on experts in a wide variety of subjects, such as education, entrepreneurship, economic and social affairs, as well as mining, to describe the solutions they have come up with after years of research and experience.

It is gratifying that these experts hail from various African countries, but as this work shows they all have an unwavering will to contribute to a more prosperous Africa.

This work focuses solidly on possible solutions that would move Africa ahead. It is an urgent call for action.

The introduction to the book is written by Mbeki himself. He refers to his prior work, Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing, in which he examined why African people comprise the majority of the world's bottom billion.

The book suggests strongly that Africa essentially lacks a dynamic and innovative political and economic leadership. Also, Africa's second most important problem is that it lacks power; most of the governments are minnows in world terms.

Other contributors to this powerful, introspective work are Seeraj Mohamed, Paul Jourdan, David Everatt, Jonathan Jansen and Sindiso Ngwenya