The Foreign Service Journal, May 2004

26 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / M A Y 2 0 0 4 M OST OF A FRICA ’ S BIG STATES ARE DYSFUNCTIONAL POLITICALLY , ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY . H ERE IS A NEW APPROACH TO THEIR PROBLEMS . B Y M ARINA O TTAWAY , J EFFREY H ERBST AND G REG M ILLS F O C U S O N A F R I C A A FRICA ’ S B IG S TATES : T OWARD A N EW R EALISM ig African states are among the least successful on the continent. Countries with a combina- tion of a large land mass and a sizable population tend to be chronically unstable politically. They perform poorly eco- nomically, despite the fact that many are quite rich in natural resources and all have internal markets that should be capable of supporting economic growth. They have been among the least successful in overcoming the early post-inde- pendence legacy of single-party or military regimes and in moving toward democracy. Forty years after independence, most are still struggling to find a political system capable of holding together their diverse populations without constant strife. B David Dean