Over the last 50 years the development trajectories of what used to be called the Third World have gone in different ways for different continents. Africa remains struggling to reduce poverty, whereas many Asian countries have been very successful in making rapid progress in many economic and social aspects of society. Why have the two continents drifted so far apart?
Roel van der Veen, professor of international relations at the University of Amsterdam, has studied both the reasons why poor countries remain so easily poor (like in Africa), but also how to escape from this almost predetermined path (as in Asia). In his analysis he links politics with economics, social relations and culture, and international with domestic aspects. It provides a framework for understanding the developmental road travelled by countries.