State Formation in Tropical Africa


ABSTRACT. African states are characterized by their recent date of creation, and nation-building has lagged behind state formation. Ethnic and regional loyalties continue to be important and used, both by government and opposition forces. A convincing parallel can be drawn with the history of European states, and Spain is taken as an example. On the dimension of centralization and regional decentralization, the analysis of Africa has to focus on sub-national government at the local level rather than on regionalism. Larger regional units are too threatening to the survival of state or regime for them to be permitted. However, at the local level, there is a continent-wide swing first towards, then away from centralization, reflecting efforts to create relative efficiency and popular consent. In practice, little difference results from the various shades of ideology. Most of the political problems that exist today are due to regional inequalities and imbalance, for most states were organized out of heterogeneous and smaller units

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