1. If you don’t have a summer reading list already, Blattman has one for you. The list is obviously not exhaustive, but two pressing titles I might add are Avner Greif’s Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy and Gerschenkron’s Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective.
2. In yet another not so nice chapter in the relationship between the Angolans and Congolese, Angola has deported thousands of Congolese. According to IRIN:
The expulsions are symptomatic of the tense relations between Luanda and Kinshasa, rooted in disputes over border demarcation and natural resources. Angola’s alleged loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to the unauthorized artisanal exploitation of diamonds is a particular bone of contention.
3. Michelle Obama is in Africa on one of those first lady gigs. Many Africa watchers have complained that the visit does not have any real policy agenda beyond the usual talking points.
But I would also like to point out that the failure of Africa to reap an Obama dividend is not just because of the State Dept.’s indifference to Africa but also because Africa lacks a coherent voice in Washington. Is there an Africa lobby? What does it do?
Instead of a calculated strategic response to the election of the first US president of African descent the Continent has swung from euphoria to disappointment over the fact that manna did not fall from heaven.
4. Lastly, the fortunes of the AU force in Somalia appear to be on an upswing. Now if only Somali politicians can get their act together and form a stable government.