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What is state-building and political order in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Sub-Saharan Africa has faced significant challenges in state-building and political order that have held them back as they rise to compete politically and economically on the world stage.

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Prior to European colonization, Sub-Saharan Africa contained a number of independent kingdoms and empires. The period of colonization, however, meant that African states would follow the Western nation-state as a model of political and social organization. In almost every instance, the boundaries between states did not take into account where various groups historically settled and traveled. Religious orientation was also not taken into account when boundaries were set in place.

Only a handful of countries escaped colonization. Liberia, settled by freed American slaves, enjoyed protection from the United States against the colonizing powers. It held a number of resources and rubber plantations desired by Europeans. Ethiopia was not colonized until the 1930s,...

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