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African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa
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African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  226 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
African Friends and Money Matters grew out of frustrations that Westerners experience when they travel and work in Africa. Africans have just as many frustrations relating to the Westerners in their midst. Each uses and manages money and other resources in very different ways, and these differences create many misunderstandings and frictions. The author deals with everyday ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Sil International, Global Publishing
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Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: westerners and Africans who are working with one another
This is a thoughtful analysis of the significant cultural differences between Westerners and Africans in the realm of financial matters and friendship.

After having served for two years as a missionary in northern Kenya, a friend of mine suggested this book to me. As I read it, the lights went on...I finally began putting the missing pieces together! I began to understand at a much deeper level why I was experiencing so much frustration with Africans and their insistence on constantly bringing f
Joel Arnold
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Helpful to read if you've never experienced an African context or some other undeveloped society. in that case, the book will introduce you to challenges and situations you may have never imagined.

On the other hand, not terribly helpful in offering evaluations or solutions for how Westenrs should relate. Maranz works hard to be fair and understanding of differences, but in the process he left me wondering how many issues are just due to human nature. For instance, he suggests that within African
Emily Blake
Sep 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book is completely accurate, and it makes me so mad I couldn't finish it. Blah
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must-read for any ex-patriate living and working in Africa. Most of the author's anecdotes relate to life in Western Africa, and I am currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Eastern Africa, so it almost goes without speaking that the customs and lifestyles vary, but most of his advice and observations were relevant to the cultural exchange that I participate in every day. His analysis described interactions that heretofore I tried my best to understand, but failed to grasp th ...more
Nancy DeValve
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was very helpful in advancing my understanding of how African and western views of certain money matters vary and why. I thought it fell short, though, in that it never suggested biblical solutions. The truth is, sometimes westerners have it wrong, sometimes Africans have it wrong, and sometimes we all have it wrong. But what does the Bible teach about money matters?
Shaun Liu
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very informative and accessible read on the cultural differences between Westerners and sub-Saharan Africans when it comes to money and friendship. The personal anecdotes of cultural misunderstanding and short sections written from an African perspective of the Westerner's action were particularly intriguing.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A should read if you are working in Africa.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my second time to read through this book, though the first time was probably about 6 years ago. Both times I've found the book to be a very enjoyable read with plenty of applicable information and details. However, there's certainly been a big difference between reading it my first time after having lived in Africa for about a year, and reading it now after having lived in Africa for seven years.

The first time I read this book, I found many of the ideas very interesting and felt like i
Mike Steinborn
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read this book several times now since first coming across it in 2002, and I think I really need to read it at least once a year to remind me of things I've forgotten... or overlooked in previous readings. Also, after all these years in West Africa, certain things click or make sense now in the light of personal experience that didn't earlier.

I've heard a number of people criticize the book for various reasons, claiming for instance that the author got this wrong or that wrong or that whate
Glenn Williams
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Just concluded the most insightful book on financial matters contrasting African and Western attitudes I have ever read. I wish I had known of this before my last seven trips to the continent!

David Maranz wrote African Friends and Money Matters out of the frustration many Westerners experience when they travel and work in Africa. Although most people who visit would expect attitudes to be different, on a day-to-day level most people don't anticipate what this might look like on a practical level
Brandon Stiver
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I learned so much from reading this book. It's written in such a way that you can pick it up for a few minutes, read a section and learn and set it down for a while (which is actually why it took me so long to finish). Maranz writes in a very clear and concise manner and goes to great measure to explain every detail concerning culture. He is clear that most of the observations are generalities, but generalities that are nonetheless true from experience both in the Africans' and Westerners' view ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa
This book is a little bit old (One example, it points out multiple times that most Africans don't have phones. While that was true in landline days (and today there are still very few landlines), now almost everyone has a mobile phone.) but is still incredibly insightful about African culture. It contains a list of 90 observations. The author admits that they are very generalized and won't be true for all Africans or for all African cultures. He doesn't give any value assignment to his observati ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Those 'best' books are reserved for those that change my way of thinking, make my brain pop and eyes widen, made me reflective, observant and inquisitive. Check, check and check. Simply a must read for those heading to Africa, have African friends, want to have more global understanding, and well, everyone, damnit! If you've ever felt a dissatisfaction with western capitalist culture this book will give you an insight on the dynamics of a non materia ...more
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is a fascinating look at the way Africans spend money, lend money, borrow money and pay back debt. The author, an American, also talks about friendships, family loyalty, personal space, using items that belong to others, sharing what one has, and saying or not saying thank you among a longer list. The african approach to all of this is so much different than ours. It is the author's opinion that an American and an African will find it very difficult to have a meaninful friendship as we ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Angela by: several expats I met in Liberia
This book made me *think*! To such an extent that that alone brought the rating from a 2-star to a 4-star. I loved the experience of getting a brand-new lens with which to view my own culture. There is such beauty and complexity in cultural interpretations of - well, pretty much everything, and not often that you're given such direct way of looking at them.

That being said, this is a tough one to rate. I have to say I agreed with some of the Amazon reviewers' comments about condescension and repe
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, powerful book of observations that both Africans and Westerners find to be true and helpful in understanding the way each other think and perceive the world and life situations. Very helpful in building an understanding for working relationships between cultures. This book can be an invaluable aid in building a team and teamwork between cultures. This book is required reading for everyone who joins our ministry team in East Africa. We re-visit this book in our annual field conference ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book should really be required reading for anyone involved with "money matters" in Africa. It has opened my eyes a great deal and helped me to make sense of situations that just baffled me. I have encouraged an African colleague of a younger generation to read it so that we can have a basis to discuss the cultural differences we face.

I took one star off because much of the research is quite dated now.
Anya Alfano
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: west-africa
Excellent read in an easily understandable format. The subject matter isn't always easy, but the author has included many poignant illustrations of his experiences that make the principles easier to understand and identify in real situations. This book is without question the best resource I've found for understanding the values and societal norms of many West African cultures.
Paul Kaefer
As I have not yet been to Africa, I wouldn't feel right giving this a rating. However, I can say that I really enjoyed reading this book. There were many interesting observations that really made me think.

It seems that rather than believing everything we hear or assume, people can really benefit from taking time to understand other peoples' cultures and ways of life.
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another book I highly recommend for all missionaries going to or living in Africa. It really helped me to better understand where people of Africa are coming from. I wish I had read it before, or shortly after arriving. It would have helped me not to come to conclusions and judgements based upon my western way of thinking. Sadly, something we missionaries do.
Darrell Jolley
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Darrell by: Greg Herring
Shelves: islam-outreach
Excellent encyclopedic type resource. There are 90 key points documented and examples given. We have seen several proven true in our ministry among a family from Sierra Leone. I highly recommend this book to anyone who plans to or finds yourself in ministry among Africans. I anticipate there is great generalization here, still, clearly useful.
Jan 30, 2010 rated it liked it
A frustrated but loving white northerner calls it like he sees it, through the distancing language of anthropology. Go read this book if you plan to live in Africa. The rules are different there, and this book will help you get your head around it. Recommended for anyone headed there from the US or similar place.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I recommend this book to any westerner who is (a) going to live in Africa; (b) planning to do a lot of traveling in Africa; or (c) has African friends in the States. The author illustrates his points with anecdotes and cartoons, which help make it quite readable.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dry but an incredibly useful book providing insights into cultural differences and miscommunications between Westerners and Africans.
Jun 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: expat-in-africa
A definite must-read for anyone who will be living or working in West Africa.
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book taught me so much about the culture in Africa. Any Westerner traveling to Africa needs to read this book, especially people who will be staying there a long time.
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone Going to Africa
A good resource to help you better understand African business midsets. A must read for anyone visiting Africa.
Kimberly Johnson
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Valuable information for anyone who works in Africa.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very insightful on the cultural differences between Africans and westerners. It's is fairly old but still very helpful.
May 16, 2015 added it
Western and African approaches to, well, friends and money compared side by side. This book is given to Peace Corp volunteers in Ghana.
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