In Africa, progress can be seen across the board. But the important question is whether this so-called progress is sustainable. The continent is a powder keg: the powder is demographics and unemployment the detonator. By 2050, the number of young people of working age in Africa is expected to be three times that of China’s. But will there be enough jobs for them? What is troubling for the continent is even more dramatic for the Sahel, a huge region of about 100 million inhabitants where insecurity is spreading like a bushfire. Despite major differences in geography and culture, there are huge similarities between the Sahel and Afghanistan: a demographic impasse, stagnating agriculture, widespread rural misery, high unemployment, deep ethnic and religious fault lines, weak states, regional instability, drug trafficking, and the spread of radical Islam. And unfortunately the same recipes that failed in Afghanistan are being rolled out in the Sahel. Are we headed to a ‘Sahelistan’ and to an ‘Africanistan’? Serge Michailof helps us find the answer to this important question.
Michailof S. (2018) Africanistan: Development or Jihad, Oxford University Press, 360 p.