The World Bank’s (1989a) Suh-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth attracted extensive press comment which focused particularly on one of two recurrent themes of the text: the crisis of African governance (Beckman 1990) and the fact that ‘Africa must grapple with two major trends: explosive population

growth and accelerating environmental degradation’ (World Bank 1989a:4). The World Bank thus gave authority to a common popular image of Africa as a continent confronted by a chronic problem of food production, which is in turn the outcome of the exposure of a fragile ecology to the claims of a rising population. These pressures appear to render African countries vulnerable to famine.