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Help not hinder Africa

Oil in Africa has a bad press—but it needn't be that way, argues a new book

Books on oil in Africa, even the good ones, seem unavoidably to be tales of looting and corruption, poverty and ecological degradation. Spend long enough reporting on energy in the continent and the notebook fills with tales: the minister who demanded hundreds of millions in kickbacks to let a corporate deal go ahead; the company that dumped its toxic materials in the bush thinking no one was looking. A new book*, by energy lawyer NJ Ayuk and analyst João Gaspar Marques, takes a different tack. It's not another story of how things have gone wrong, but a gentle polemic—by way of case studies from different producer-countries—about how to make things right. It's a refreshing approach. The bo

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