In the early twenty-first century, Africa is widely perceived as the world’s poorest continent with a seemingly endless agenda of development priorities. Yet, in many African countries, solid progress is being made (ODI, 2010), and Africa deserves to have a stronger voice, such that both its problems and its potential are placed ‘centre stage’ in world economic and social development forums. A once popular image of Africa was that of ‘the dark continent’, as it was first portrayed by nineteenth-century explorers such as Stanley and Livingstone. In the past, Africa has been regarded as being ‘off the map’, a mysterious terra incognita, populated by wild animals and characterized by harsh environments such as vast deserts and impenetrable forests. In the last two or three decades, however, Africa has become more synonymous with famine, drought, poverty and diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. It is a continent where poor governance and political instability are often seen as the norm rather than the exception, and where seemingly little progress has been made in achieving economic, social or cultural development.