War and State-Building in Africa


Africa lacks number of interstate wars that early modern Europe experienced


-         Ethiopian-Somalian 1977-1978 (226 days)

-         Ugandan-Tanzanian 1978-1979 (165 days)

-         Ethiopian-Eritrean 1998-2000

-         interventions in Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo, 1996-2000



Is the European state-formation model a good predictor of state-building?

-         European coercion-wielders did not plan to build a sovereign territorial state

-         African governments are expected to


20th Century Latin American Experience (C. Thies, 2005)

-         State strength measured as tax revenues as % of GDP (extraction)

-         actual war did not produce stronger states

-         interstate rivalries did

o      long-term conflicts with other states

-         civil wars weakened states

-         greater debt weakened states


Late 20th Century Asian, African, & Middle East Experience (Thies, 2004)

-         covers only 1975-2000

-         interstate rivalries improved extraction

-         ethnic internal conflicts increase extraction

o      not political internal conflicts


African ‘Enduring Rivalries’ (Diehl, 2000)

-         Congo v. Zaire

-         Uganda v. Kenya

-         Somalia v. Ethiopia

-         Ethiopia v. Sudan

-         Ethiopia v. Eritrea


External Sources of Resources

-         development aid

-         foreign trade


African State-Building in Historical Perspective

-         states may be consolidating their internal rule

o      but only one secession (Eritrea, 1991/93)

-         external resources substitute for internal ones



-         neo-trusteeship after state failure (Fearon & Laitin, 2005)

-         shared sovereignty (Krasner, 2005)

-         wait & see

-         further democratization