Excellent article by Greg Mills here. I think he touches on the key issue but doesn't develop it sufficiently - a weak sense of national identity in many African countries is at the bottom of the issue. The provenance of this weak identity comes directly from late colonial period divide and rule policies.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
The danger is that he comes close to lapsing into the simplistic blame the leaders perspective of Achebe's The Trouble with Nigeria. African leaders are a reflection of the society at large - they are not parachuted in from Mars.
In many respects, the difference between Ghana (rapidly losing its 3rd world status) and Nigeria (rapidly retrenching it, with cholera spreading through the land as the most recent indicator of decay) is the difference between a country with a relatively strong sense of national identity (many if not most Ghanaians think of themselves as Ghanaian first, and by ethnicity/tribe second), and that with a relatively weak sense (most Nigerians define themselves by ethnicity/tribe first, and as Nigerian second). This is the difference that Confucianism makes in East Asia.