An African Book with a Perspective and Liberian Connection
By J. Kpanneh Doe
March 12, 2001
A new book, AFRICA AT THE MILLENNIUM: AN AGENDA FOR MATURE DEVELOPMENT, which was published late last year by Palgrave Publishers Ltd (formerly Macmillan Press Ltd), has had a strong Perspective and Liberian connection. Geepu Nah Tiepoh, the Economic Affairs Editor of The Perspective newsmagazine, and a fellow Liberian Thomas Jaye, former editor of Africa World Review, were among those who contributed chapters to the book. Edited by Bakut and Dutt, and with a Foreword by Stephen Chan, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities of Nottingham Trent University (the United Kingdom), the book is aimed at providing a framework for research into African issues in the twenty-first century.
In their Introduction on Chapter 2, "External Debt and Adjustment: Prospects for African Economic Growth and Transformation", the editors write:
"Following a similar line of argument, Geepu Nah Tiepoh takes issue in Chapter 2 with those who advocate an exclusive 'internal solution' for African economic problems through domestic economic growth. While the argument remains valid, Tiepoh argues, the issues of external debt and economic growth are not only complex but are also symptomatic of the broader problem of lack of economic development in Africa. Thus the external debt and lack of economic growth complex must be understood in terms of causality running in both directions. Tiepoh argues that while lack of economic growth can explain Africa's external debts crisis, the overhanging huge external debt burden has over the years allowed the adoption of adjustment policies that have helped to undermine domestic economic growth efforts. As a solution to African external debt and economic growth problems, there must be a successful shift from asymmetric and rapid adjustment policies focusing on restructuring only domestic variables. Tiepoh suggests that these policies, focusing on achieving external equilibrium, should be redirected towards a balanced and long-term adjustment process aimed at improving the productive capacities and structural transformation of African economies" (pp. 2-3).
Also, in their Introduction on Chapter 8, "Ecowas and Liberia: Implications for Regional Intervention in Intra-state Conflicts", the editors write:
"In Chapter 8, Thomas Jaye reflects on the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Liberian imbroglio and argues that the ECOWAS experience could be useful for future regional intervention in violent intra-state conflicts in the continent. While accepting the influence of ethnicity in the Liberian war, he feels that it is by itself neither the causal/explanatory factor, nor the origin of the crisis. The causality, Jaye argues, is the lack of security in the widest sense of the word. The ECOWAS intervention experience, Jaye notes, sets a precedent for consensual and collective action by African states as well as a precedent for regional organizations' interventions in regional conflicts without United Nations' (UN) sanctions. In conclusion, he holds the view that ECOWAS intervention was justifiable within the context of the external and internal historical conditions, considering the indifference of the international community to African conflicts" (p. 5).
We at the Perspective Magazine congratulate these two Liberians.