This book constitutes the final report of the Club of Rome-sponsored interdisciplinary Africa project, completed in 1988 with the support of the African Academy of Sciences. The purpose of the project was: (1) to help shift attention from the immediate appearances of African food crises and emergency relief to the causes and mechanisms of recurrent famine in modern Africa; and (2) to examine how Africa can move towards a future of self-reliance in food and rural prosperity. The central thesis is that while droughts and climatic features are unavoidable, famines are largely man-made.
Part 1 and 2 examine the complex web of interacting, mutually amplifying problems associated with famines, from different perspectives. Part 1 presents an overview of the situation, whereas part 2 takes a more detailed local and sectoral aproach. The message conveyed is that by combining human resources, institutional and physical infrastructure capacities, Africa’s goal of self-reliant material and social development is within reach. Part 3 presents a conceptual framework for achieving this goal, together with an agenda for action.