“Eritrea at a Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope”

Ch. 11 The African State in Crisis

[T]he modern African state remains largely irrelevant to the needs, interests, and aspirations of the people. 

-Agbese and Kieh


እታ ዘመናዊት ኣፍሪቃዊት ሃገር ንጠለባት፡ ረብሓን ሃረርታን ህዝቢ ዘይተማልእ ኢያ

ኣግበሰን ክየህን


Chapter 11


Some of the recent literature on the nature of the postcolonial state in Africa is reviewed in Chapter 11: The African State in Crisis in order to ground the Eritrean experience in state construction and development in the African setting. The chapter highlights the European heritage of the state system in Africa and interrogates its suitability to the socio-economic conditions of African society. It notes the impacts of slavery, colonialism and the Cold War on Africa’s development. Slavery robbed Africa of millions of its most productive work force, drained its creative energy, and sapped its potential to develop. Colonialism plundered Africa’s natural and human resources and disrupted its indigenous progression. The Cold War turned Africa into an ideological battleground, disoriented its priorities, and destabilised its polities.


Further, the chapter notes how the African state, as a graft of the European state system rooted in the industrial and political revolutions in Europe, gave rise to anti-colonial nationalism and Pan-Africanism that fuelled the drive to independence, and ended up inheriting the authoritarian features of the colonial state. It explores how these features led to the failure of the postcolonial state to build functional governance, establish stability, achieve sustainable development, and deliver public wellbeing for most of its citizens. The chapter notes that the prototype African state faces a deep crisis of legitimacy, delivery and relevance and, as recent events in North and West Africa have shown, remains dysfunctional, repressive and fragile.


 (PDF: Tigrinya ምዕራፍ 11)

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