The end of World War II signaled the end of the European African empires. In 1945, four African countries were independent; by 1963, 30 African states created the Organization of African Unity. The 1960s were a time of optimism as Africans enjoyed their new independence, witnessed increases in prosperity and prepared to tackle their political and economic problems in their own way. By the 1990s, however, these high hopes had been dashed. Dictatorship by strongmen, corruption, civil wars and genocide, widespread poverty and the interventions and manipulations of the major powers had all relegated Africa to the position of an aid "basket case," the world's poorest and least-developed continent. By exploring developments over the last 15 years, including the impact of China, new IT technology and the Arab Spring, the rise of Nigeria as Africa's leading country and the recent refugee crisis, Guy Arnold brings his landmark history of modern Africa up to date and provides a fresh perspective on this misunderstood continent.