Africapitalism: Rethinking the Role of Business in Africa.

AuthorKolasa, Matthew C.

Amaeshi, Kenneth, Adun Okupe, and Uwafiokun Idemudia, eds. Africapitalism: Rethinking the Role of Business in Africa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

In Africapitalism: Rethinking the Role of Business in Africa, editors Kenneth Amaeshi and Adun Okupe, at the University of Edinburgh, and Uwafiokun Idemudia, at York University in Toronto, support the new economic philosophy of Africapitalism (a term coined by Nigerian economist Tony Elumelu, who wrote the books foreword). Attesting to the relevance of Elumelu's contributions and ideas, Time magazine named him one of the world s one hundred most influential people in 2020. This creative and well-written interdisciplinary collection of eleven essays brings African voices from around the globe to the fore. Africapitalism, a uniquely African approach to developing economies, involves the interconnectivity of stakeholders, social welfare, and communities. It seeks to maximize profits while improving employee, consumer, and national outcomes with a sense of community and patriotism.

The authors begin by assessing African economies. Underdeveloped institutions and industrialization pose a problem as developed countries enjoy distinctive advantages. Combine this with the stunting effects of extractive exploitation and colonialism and the odds are against African economies. Meanwhile, the well-meaning international development community fosters aid dependence. The authors posit while parts of Africa have nurtured capitalist classes and growth, competition from capitalist metropoles necessitate a new approach. Enter the new paradigm of Africapitalism. The authors argue that entrepreneurs must take the lead by bringing South Africa's Ubuntu philosophy to business, introducing principles of progress, prosperity, parity, peace, and place. Africapitalism critiques crony capitalism and corruption in favor of longer-term views of building society, workforce, and market. Far from a social inevitability, they argue leaders can mold capitalisms character. The attempt to bring this Africa-centered approach to business is ambitious. In many areas, regulation has proven more convincing than patriotism, but one can work with the other, as fighting corruption can combine with a business strategy and grow into a deep-rooted indigenous variety of capitalism and management.

An especially compelling chapter is Amon Chizema and Nceku Nyathi s discussion of Chinese investment in Africa. As overcapacity...

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