This issue of "Soundings" offers an in-depth analysis of contemporary Africa. The first half of the publication is dedicated to a range of topical features, and the second half deals in depth with a particular theme. Post-colonial Africa has entered a new phase with the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seke in the Congo. His dictatorship, supported by the major Western powers for 30 years, undermined the stability of his neighbours, and also countries further afield, from Angola in the West to Eritrea in the East. Mobutu's regime was a symbol of the destructive impact of the West on the continent. Besides military and political destabilization, the West has imposed economic measures which have eroded state power and left Africa at the end of the 20th century an unequal player in the world community. This volume addresses these issues.