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Introduction A Century Lost

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book Indigenous African Institutions and its chapters. The twentieth century has been described as a "Lost Century" for Africa. Once a region with rich natural resources the African continent now teeters perilously on the brink of economic disintegration and collapse. The plight of Africa periodically attracts world attention, which cynics may describe as "a ten-year attention deficit cycle". Every decade or so, megaplans are drawn up and rock concerts held to launch an international rescue mission for Africa. The main obstacle that has bedeviled efforts to lift the African people out of poverty has been the difficulty of penetrating the layers of mythology, ignorance, and prejudice enshrouding Africa and its people. For many centuries, Africa remained a mystery or a foreboding enigma. It attracted the curiosity of explorers while fascinating and captivating empire-builders by its vast wealth.

Keywords: African continent; twentieth century



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