Calderisi shows that Africa has steadily lost markets by its own mismanagement; that corrupt, dictatorial regimes have hobbled agriculture, enterprise and foreign investment; that African family values and fatalism are more destructive than tribalism; and that African leaders prey intentionally on Western guilt. Calderisi exposes the shortcomings and indulgences of foreign aid and debt relief, and proposes his own radical solutions.
Drawing on many years of first hand experience, The Trouble with Africa highlights issues which have been ignored by Africa's leaders but have long worried ordinary Africans, diplomats, academics, business leaders, aid workers, volunteers and missionaries. It ripples with stories which only someone who has talked directly to African farmers – and heads of state – could recount.
Calderisi's aim is to move beyond the hand-wringing and finger-pointing which dominates most discussions of Africa. Instead, he suggests concrete steps which Africans and the world can take to unlock the talent and enterprise of the continent.
Robert Calderisi studied at the Universities of Montreal, Oxford, Sussex and London. He has had a thirty-year career in international development, principally at the World Bank, where between 1997 and 2000 he was the Bank's international spokesperson on Africa.
"boisterous, entertaining and highly accessible. [Calderisi] challenges the shibboleths of the aid industry with courage, compassion and humour. A timely and bracing read."
– Michela Wrong, Author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz
"A timely, intriguing and provocative book. The author's love of the continent shines through every line, yet his bold suggestions will raise eyebrows and provoke debate."
– Baroness Lynda Chalker, former UK Secretary of State for Overseas Development
"a blast of fresh air over a continent that has for decades been suffocating under a blanket of well-meant concern, ineffectual at best, and harmful at worst"
– Michael Holman, former Africa editor, Financial Times
" [...] a fluent, deeply personal account of how aid has failed Africa, and how Africa, so often, has managed to fail itself."
– The Economist
"A brilliant, striking book."
– Ralph Benson, Irish Times
"Calderisi's The Trouble with Africa is the most original of the three, with its refreshing frankness about the drags on development caused by dysfunctional political systems"
– Alex De Waal, Times Literary Supplement
"In The Trouble With Africa Calderisi brings you up close to the corruption, greed and incompetence that bedevil the continent. He echoes the shocking truth put forward in recent books, that resource – and talent-rich countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, are actually sliding backwards."
– Matthew Rock, Business Voice