Serges Djoyou Kamga. 2021. The Right To Development In Africa: Issues, Constraints and Prospects. Austin, Texas: Pan-African University Press. i–xiv, 773 pages; paperback. Price not stated. ISBN: 978-1-93533-49-7.
Edited by Professor Serges Djoyou Kamga of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI) of University of South Africa (UNISA), The Right To Development In Africa: Issues, Constraints and Prospects contains well- researched essays that, in tandem, reiterate the cogent contention that the right to development in Africa is both urgent and mandatory. Editor Kamga – writing in Walter Rodney’s radical scholarly tones – also very pungently opened his Introduction with a brilliant essay that is sub-titled, “The Right to Development in Context”. Among varied details, he unequivocally asserted: “From time immemorial, Africa has been ravaged by poverty and underdevelopment, despite its rich natural resources.” (Introduction, p. 1).
Professor Kamga has, indisputably, addressed several adopted interests of African development with multitudes of interventionist initiatives, initially through the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and, subsequently, the African Union (AU), formed on May 26, 2001, as a replacement. In such contexts, Professor Kamga lists a host of the interventions, which have included the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action for Economic Development; the 1986 African Priority Program for Economic Recovery; the 1989 African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Program; The 2001 New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and many more. However, the South Africa-based legal luminary cynically concluded: “Nevertheless, no tangible results seem to be emanating from these initiatives; and all of these seem to be a waste of money, time and energy. (p. 1).
Meanwhile, Professor Kamga utilizes his introduction to offer his readers a subtext with the title, “The Multidimensional Nature of the Right to Development and, finally, an overview of the tome, which he subdivided into the following six (6) sections, indeed as discussed by the various contributors: “The Rule of Law and the realization of the right to development in Africa” (Part 1); “Corruption and the realization of the right to development in Africa” (Part 2); “African culture and philosophies and the realization of the right to development in Africa” (Part 3); “Gender justice, women’s rights and the realization of the right to development in Africa”. (Part 4); “The right to education and the right to development”. (Part 5); and “Other facets of the right to development in Africa”. (Part 6).
Apart from the well-placed list of contributors as well as the 14-page introduction and the copious index (pp. 757–773), experts, developmental field scholars, researchers and the general readers should be delighted by the 33 chapters of The Right To Development In Africa: Issues, Constraints and Prospects. A special feature of the massive tome is that each of the chapters end with its own endnotes, bibliographic sources, and well-crafted conclusions.
Indeed, African nations as well as their leaders and the citizenry will be delighted that the pregnant subjects of State-sponsored terrorism an violent extremism, in the context of their violations of the right to development in Africa, are faced head on in the well-written concluding section (or Chapter 33). There, readers have been informed without equivocation that the author – Tanzania-based legal-cum-research consultant, Furaha Joy Sekai Saungweme – informs them about how peculiar challenges are created by the rising phenomena of terrorism in Africa, coupled with “the counter-terrorism efforts employed by governments and the effect that this has on the right to development on the [African] continent.” (p. 729).
Law Professor Kamga and the numerous distinguished scholarly contributors deserve laudation and admiration for such a weighty tome of not less than useful 773 pages. The Right To Development In Africa: Issues, Constraints and Prospects will benefit university students of all levels, faculty, researchers and the general reader.