No. 4: From Global Apartheid to Global Village / Terry M. Mays / The African Book Publishing Record, July 2010

Published in: The African Book Publishing Record, Vol. XXXVI (2), 2010, p.133


From Global Apartheid to Global Village: Africa and the United Nations, Adekeye Adebajo, ed. with a foreword by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Scottsville, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2009, 664 pp. R329.95/£44.95 cased ISBN 9781869141721, [Eurospan Group (UK), International Specialised Book Services (USA)]

From Global Apartheid to Global Village: Africa and the United Nations, edited by Adekeye Adebajo, examines the evolving relationship between African states and the United Nations (UN). The editor sets a theme that he terms "global apartheid" which he defines as an inequitable power relationship between northern and southern hemisphere countries. The book follows the theme across six decades via three areas of concern: politics with an emphasis on the UN Security Council; peacekeeping and human rights with an emphasis on the challenges resulting from Somalia in 1993 and Rwanda in 1994 as well as the politicization of human rights issues; and socio-economic development with an emphasis on aid, trade, and debt. Adebajo assembled 31 well known scholar/practitioners for this 600+ page comprehensive study of the topic. 28 of these scholars are African and over half of all the authors have worked for the UN at some point in their career demonstrating the editor's selection of chapter authors who are thoroughly familiar with not only continental issues but also the role of the UN in Africa.

Following a two chapter introduction to the topic, the editor includes five chapters reviewing the role and processes of key UN organs as they have interacted with African states. These bodies include the Security Council, General Assembly, Secretariat, Secretary General, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, and the International Court of Justice. The next section of the book includes chapters on peace and security as well as human rights. Five chapters review UN peacekeeping issues in the geographical areas of Southern Africa, West Africa, the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa. Other chapters in this section cover the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the role of the Security Council in African civil conflicts, the UN's conflict mediation efforts, and the evolution of the idea that sovereignty comes with responsibilities. The third and largest section of the book includes essays on socio-economic development. These chapters feature the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the UN Development Program, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the World Food Program, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the International Labor Organization, the UN Environment Program, the UN Development Fund for Women, the UN Children's Fund, the Office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The strengths of this edited volume include not only the impressive list of chapter authors but also the large number of UN organs, offices, and agencies they cover in their essays. The book is comprehensive in its examination of the UN's role with African states while most previously published works concentrate on the work of one UN body on the continent. As with most edited volumes, some authors tend to stray from the theme but this does not distract from the impact of the chapters for understanding the relationship between the UN and African states. From Global Apartheid to Global Village: Africa and the United Nations is highly recommended for college level libraries and should be considered a "must" acquisition for any college with courses in African politics and/or economics.

Terry M. Mays
The Citadel

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