Translated by David Fernbach The 21st century will be the century of Africa. This continent was once seen as empty, rural, animist, poor, and forgotten by the world. Now, fifty years after independence, it is full to bursting, urban and monotheist. If poverty and violence are still rampant, economic growth has taken off again and a middle class is developing. Africa will hold a central place in the big issues facing the world today. If it once made a ?false start', here it is back again - in the fast lane. The West has missed the turnaround of a continent that will no longer wait for us. How can we best understand it? Demography, economics, politics, diplomacy, cultures and religions - this book presents the different facets of this new Africa, which will soon have a billion people, at the mid point of the most rapid population boom that humanity has ever known. Without ignoring the risks of its metamorphosis, it brings to light the forces and hopes that Africa harbors.