The Challenge for Africa: Book summary and reviews of The Challenge for Africa by Wangari Maathai

The Challenge for Africa

By Wangari Maathai

The Challenge for Africa
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement, Wangari Maathai offers a refreshingly unique perspective on the challenge facing Africa, even as she calls for a moral revolution among Africans themselves, who, she argues, are culturally deracinated, adrift between worlds.

The challenges facing Africa today are severe and wide ranging. Yet what we see of them in the media, more often than not, are tableaux vivantes connoting poverty, dependence, and desperation. Wangari Maathai presents a different vision, informed by her three decades as an environmental activist and campaigner for democracy. She illuminates the complex and dynamic nature of the continent, and offers "hard-headed hope" and "realistic options" for change and improvement. With clarity of expression, Maathai analyzes the most egregious “bottlenecks to development in Africa” occurring at the international, national, and individual levels—cultural upheaval and enduring poverty, among them—and deftly describes what Africans can and need to do for themselves, stressing all the while responsibility and accountability.

Impassioned and empathic, A Challenge for Africa is a book of immense importance.

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Media Reviews

"Africa's moral and cultural dysfunctions loom as large as its material problems in this wide-ranging jeremiad." - Publishers Weekly.

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Author Information

Wangari Maathai Author Biography

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa) in 1940. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. Wangari Maathai obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964). She subsequently earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966). She pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi where she also taught veterinary anatomy. She became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region. Wangari Maathai was active in the...

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