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Publications received

La politique etrangere du Cameroun (Cameroon's foreign policy)

By Narcisse Mouelle Kombi. Pub. L'Harmattan, Collection «Points de vue» (5-7, rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique, F-75005 Paris). 1996. 238 pp. ISBN 2-73843701-X.

Cameroon belongs to the zone formerly called the 'Third World' which is nowadays labelled the 'South'. This region of great diversity currently faces major socio-economic and political conflict, and receives 'multiform' and 'tied' aid from the developed countries.

This does not, however, prevent it from having a degree of freedom of action in diplomatic terms.

The author, who is a specialist in international law, believes that as a player on the world scene, Cameroon puts its foreign-policy skills to good advantage and has acquired a certain respect in international relations and in global institutions.

He argues that Yaounde is attempting to implement a realistic and pragmatic foreign policy, reflecting its own sovereign status and the imperatives of development.

At the same time, the country is endeavouring to implement the changes forced upon it by modern circumstances.

Le developpement institutionnel - Les organisations a l'epreuve de la specificite et de la concurrence (Institutional development - Organisations based on specificity and competition)

By Arturo Israel. Translated from the English by Alain Claisse. Pub. L'Harmattan (5-7, me de l'Ecole Polytechnique, F-75005 Paris). 1996. 235 pp. 140 FF. ISBN 2-73844322-2.

A graduate of the University of Chile and the London School of Economics, the author has devoted most of his career (particularly within the World Bank) to examining the problems of economic and social development.

He has been one of the pioneers of institutional development, a field which is nowadays seen as essential to all development strategies.

He argues that institutional development requires not bureaucratisation but the promotion and recognition of two principles in both public and private organisations. These are competition and specificity.

The former induces those involved to improve the quality of their work, whilst forcing them to listen to the 'consumer'. The latter involves qualifications, specialisation and a precise definition of objectives, tasks, resources and results.

After a critical review of assessment reports produced over a 15-year period by the World Bank in the field of institutional development, Arturo Israel tells us why such development is one of the keys to success in development projects. He demonstrates that a good project being implemented in an unfavourable institutional environment has little chance of achieving positive long-term effects.

La justice internationale face au drame rwandais (International justice confronted by the Rwandan crisis)

Under the direction of Jean-Franse Dupaquier, with William Bourdon, Pierre-Serge Heger, Frederic Mutagwera, Fran,cois-Xavier Nsanzuwera, Rakiya Omaar, William A. Schabas and Anne-Marie Swartenbroekx. Pub. Karthala (22-24, boulevard Arago, F-75013, Paris). 1996. 248 pp. FF 130. BF. 715. ISBN 2-86537-662-1.

It is two years since the genocide and political massacres which resulted in the death of a million people in Rwanda. In this work, the authors describe and analyse the progress made in various legal proceedings in Rwanda itself, in the international arena and in the jurisdictions of Belgium, France, Canada and Switzerland.

Some countries have been slow and apparently reluctant to fulfil their international obligations and this has resulted in disappointment and impatience on the part of the victims' families, jurists and human rights activists.

Given the example of the Nuremberg trials, the authors suggest there are good grounds for concluding that international human rights have become less important over the last 50 years. This work allows one to reach a considered opinion. Modern legal instruments provide for the punishment of those responsible for the appalling tragedy in Rwanda. These instruments could be seen as a significant advance in the recognition of human rights by the international community. But what is missing at the moment is the political will (and public pressure) to implement them.

Methodologies d'analyse de la mortalite des enfants - Applications au Cameroun (Analytical methodologies in child mortality as applied to Cameroon)

By Amadou Noumbissi. Pub. Braylant-Academia (25, Grand Rue, B-134B Louvainla-Neuve) and L'Harmattan (5-7, rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique, F-75005 Paris). 1996. 305 pp. ISBN 2-87209389-3 (Academia-Braylant) and ISBN 2-7384-3722-2 (L'Harmattan).

Child mortality, always very high in sub-Saharan Africa, varies according to social class, habitat and region. The identification of the social, economic and cultural factors which influence the survival of children depends on the quality of data, and on the relevance of the indicators and statistical models used.

With the aid of specific examples, this work attempts to demonstrate the origin of a number of sources of bias in so-called classical approaches and the distortion of the truth which a poor choice or detrimental manipulation of statistical models can give rise to.

A teacher and researcher at the Demographic Institute of the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), the author proposes methods to take account of the interdependence and synergy which exist between the factors which affect the risk of mortality. He applies these methods to the data gained in two national surveys which were carried out in Cameroon in 1978 and 1991.

Revue Region et Developpement (Region and Development Journal)

Pub. L'Harmattan (5-7, rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique, F75005 Paris). 1995. 238 pp. ISBN 2-7384-4125-4

This half-yearly journal, first launched in 1995, deals with the various socio-economic aspects of regional development. The second issue contains articles which may be of interest to our readers, including: 'Regionalisation, globalisation and polarisation of the world economy: is there room for developing countries?', and 'Housing models in developing countries'.

Structural adjustment and ethnicity in Nigeria

By Eghosa E. Osaghae. Pub. The Nordic Africa Institute (P.O. Box 1703, S-751 47 Uppsala, Sweden). 1995. 66 pp. ISBN 91-7106373-0.

The author is a lecturer who heads the politics department at the University of Transkei in South Africa. A significant conclusion from his study, undertaken at the Nordic Africa Institute, is that from the ethnic standpoint, the implementation of structural adjustment (with its corollary of reduced state involvement in public life), has had positive effects in Nigeria. This contrasts with the usual perception of the structural adjustment process.

The migration experience in Africa

Collection prepared under the direction of Jonathan Baker and Tade Akin Aina. Pub. The Nordic Africa Institute (P.O. Box 1703, S-751 47 Uppsala, Sweden). 1995. 353 pp. ISBN-91-7106366-8.

This volume aims to take stock of migration in Africa. The causes of the phenomenon are varied and complex, and the authors have chosen an approach which illustrates the diversity of the theories, and methodological and analytical trends involved.

The book offers an empirical assessment of migration in contemporary Africa, focusing particularly on the problem of women migrants. Migration is an important element in the wider development equation and this work fills a gap in the literature.

Challenges to the Nation-State in Africa

Collection prepared under the direction of Adebayo O. Olukoshi and Liisa Laakso. Pub. The Nordic Africa Institute (P.O. Box 1703, S-751 47 Uppsala, Sweden) in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki. 1996. 213 pp. ISBN 91-7106381-1.

The challenge confronting the nation state in contemporary Africa are of great interest to specialists attempting to understand how deconstruction and recomposition of the political identity of populations affects the post-colonial unitarian project. The studies offered in this volume show that this process has often taken ethno-regionalist, religious or separatist forms - reinforced by economic crisis and the negative effects of structural adjustment, not to mention the legacy of years of political authoritarianism and exclusion dating from the colonial period.

The authors believe that in order to promote national unity and a sense of citizenship in Africa, priority should be given, inter alia, to more representative forms of government, power-sharing and decentralisation, multi-party elections, the reinvention of the post-colonial social contract and cultural autonomy for minority groups.

Agenda for Africa's economic renewal

Collection prepared under the direction of Benno Ndulu and Nicolas van de Walle. Pub. Overseas Department Council (1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1012, Washington, DC 20009, USA). 1996. 246 pp. ISBN 1-56000900-4.

For 20 years, sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing a severe economic crisis. Growth has been stagnant and the result has been reduced living standards for much of the population, and ever-increasing pressure on the continent's political structures. Structural adjustment, advocated by international organisations in an attempt to restore growth in Africa, has not had the anticipated results and has given rise to a number of disputes.

In this book, 10 African, US and European experts attempt to look beyond the immediate horizon and identify strategies which could be implemented to give renewed vigour to the African economy. They analyse the choices which should be made in key areas such as agriculture, trade and industry, the role of the state and the social sectors.