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Chapter 1-5 | DOC FORMAT: MS WORD/PDF | PRICE: ₦5,000


In this study we explored the link between political leadership and persisting economic problems in sub- Saharan Africa. Primarily, we interrogated the following questions: Is there a link between persisting economic crises and incompetence on the part of political leadership in sub- Saharan Africa between 1960 and 2009? Do leadership problems in sub – Saharan Africa lead to poor integration of the region’s economies into the global economy in the period under study? Is leadership failure responsible for poor inter-state relation in sub- Saharan Africa? This study was discussed under the perspective prism of Marxian political economy as expounded by Karl Marx. In this study we put forward the following hypotheses for testing: There is a link between incompetence on the part of political leadership and persisting economic crises in sub- Saharan Africa between 1960 and 2009. Leadership problems in sub – Saharan Africa lead to poor integration of the region’s economies into the global economy in the period under study. Leadership failure is responsible for the poor inter- state relation in sub- Saharan Africa. These hypotheses were tested in chapters two, three and four respectively. The chapter five contains the summary and conclusion.




Sub-Saharan Africa also known as black Africa covers an area of 24.3 million square kilometers. The region is obviously one of the poorest as it contains most of the Least Developed States in the world. It forms bulk of ACP counties where diseases like malaria is a chronic impediment to economic development. According to the World Bank, the region’s GDP would have been 32% higher in 2003 if the disease had been eradicated in 1960. The population of sub-Saharan Africa was 800 million in 2007 while the current growth rate is 2.3% ( The United Nations (UN) prediction for the population of the region stands at nearly 1.5 billion in 2050. Figures for life expectancy, malnourishment, and infant mortality and HIV/AIDS infections are also dramatic. More than 40% of the populations in sub-Saharan countries are younger than 15 years old. Sub-Saharan Africa has very high child mortality rate.  In 2002, one in six (17%) children died before the age of five, by 2007 this rate had declined 16%, to one in seven (15%) while it has increased to 24% since 2008 but with the exception of South Africa.

The region has remained in lockstep with violence and instability since their independence from late 1950s to 1960s, mainly due to the failure of past and present leaders to effectively manage and/or reduce conflict drivers within the region. To surmount this problem and prevent the region from careening towards the vortex of failed state, scholars have advocated that leaders that are honest, sincere and committed to social justice, equity, rule of law and other democratic values that help to bond society and promote stability is unavoidably the answer.

Decades after decolonization in Africa especially from 1990, many sub-Saharan Africa states were immersed in seeming intractable leadership crisis. The fruits of peaceful co-existence and harmony which include stability and socio-economic development have remained largely illusive in the region. Echezona (1998:57) rightly observed that “…the crisis which bestride each and every African country… are at the same time ethnic, economic, social and environmental”.

Truly, the period spanning from 1960 to the present christened the Post colonial/ neo-colonial era witnessed an upsurge of development failure in developing countries especially Africa. In Liberia Samuel Doe, Prince Yormie Johnson, and Charles Taylor were the night mares of Liberian as they struggled for seizure of state power consecutively or simultaneously and thereby inflicted economic hardship on the people of Liberia and the sub-Saharan region at large (Echezona, 1993:99). This was not an exception as it was the case across Africa. In Sierra Leone, Paul Koroma, Ahmed Tejan kabbah, John Karafa Smart etc. were interlocked in intensive crisis for the capture of the state (Hassan, 2002). In Somalia, Hussen Mohammed Aideed, Hassan Mohammed Nur Shatigudud, Abdiaji Yusuf Ahmed and Sallad Hanssan were rivals (Hassan, 2002). In Burundi, and Rwanda, the Tutsi and Hutu were engaged in a frontal blood bizarre. Conflict looks every part of Africa as political leaderships fail to manage economic production justly. The states therefore do not appear as the bank of interest of the generality of the people. A monopolistic capitalism, crises drives away the few foreign investors in sub-Saharan Africa to more stable third world countries in Asia, Latin America, North and South Africa.

About five decades after political independent in sub- Saharan Africa, the impact of political leadership on economic development in sub- Saharan Africa is adverse as the full scope of the danger becomes clear. In Sub-Saharan Africa, what appeared as mere ethnic cleansing has turned into a long and brutal civil war in most cases. The consequences of violent conflict on the African continent have been devastating. Similarly, there appears an intensifying economic hardship in the region which seems to account for the declining legitimacy to make authoritative decision for the majority of the citizenry at all levels of governance. In the absence of peace and stability, government legitimacy, and economic growth and development, most states in the region under study are described as failed or failing states.

While this study does not dispute this supra argument that is mainly associated with Chinua Achebe (1983) and many other sub Saharan scholars, this study seeks to explore the interlinks between the style of leadership and the intensifying crises of economic development in the sub- Saharan Africa with a view to deciphering brighter prospects for African economic development. In this study, we shall explore the following countries for emphases: Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somali, Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Tanzania.

1.1    Statement of the Problem

Liberal democracy proposed by the West as the political model for economic development appears to have proven incongruent with African experiences especially the sub Saharan region that continue to be listed by UN, her agencies and other international organization’s ‘bad books’ as the poorest, diseases- ridden and home to most ignorant people in the world. Nonetheless, the US first black President Barrack Obama, in his speech in Ghana reiterated that Africa has remained backward on account of the corrupt leadership since their various independents. He urged Africans to evolve strong institutions and not strong men. Obama also restated that America would no longer dictate to nations the path to political and economic development. The implication is that the US had done so in the past probably through the activities of IMF and World Bank whose conditionalities for loan to the poor regions of the world are at worst described as harsh on the economies of the recipient countries (Echezona, 1993:99).

It is abundantly clear that due to differences in culture, geography, political and socio-economic factors that there are no manuals or handouts on political leadership that a nation should apply to achieve their economic end. We have countless prognosis of action that unwittingly did not work in other places but generated internal upheaval here and there. For example, to a large extent, while Western style democracy has worked perfectly well in North America and Western Europe, it is yet to produce the desired results in Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia and many other countries that have so far experimented with it.

On the socio-economic front, the story is worse as the economies of most sub-Saharan African states are mono- cultural. Governments of these states underpay and over -tax citizens. Not only that, the region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, the manufacturing and other allied industries are either dead or performing below capacity. In addition, social infrastructures and services that would have helped to promote socio-economic development are in deplorable conditions. Sustainable economic opportunity in the region is at an average of 58% and human development at about 50 %. This is in contrast with the 80% and 92% rate 85% and 90 % rate found in North America and in Europe respectively (www.moibrahimfoundation .org). The roads are death traps, while electricity supply is erratic and people in urban areas often live in crowded squalor from Abidjan to Abuja.

In the light of the above, we understand why the environment of lawlessness and its consequences are fertile seedbeds for the flourishing of area boys, ethnic militias, child labour, industrial disputes, religious crisis and many other socio-economic predicaments across Africa. It is in connection with these political, economic and social crises that various ethnic groups and civil society organisations in Africa are calling for either National Conference or Constitutional Conference to address what they have tagged the “Nigerian question, Somalia question, Sudanese question, Gabonese question, Zimbabwean question Congolese question   etc”. It is also against this background that the recent US intelligent report on sub- Saharan Africa ranks it as one of the most unsafe places to do business in the world.

The leadership problem connects with building core state institutions like the police, civil service, the legislature, the judiciary and the executives. Without a good and committed leadership, these institutions cannot function properly. For instance, if you have leaders who have no respect for the rule of law, human rights, minority rights and other values that help to tie and make society stable, you cannot expect the judiciary to function properly. In other words, if leaders desecrate their core institutions, those institutions cannot work creditably. This is the situation in most states in Africa.

However, inquiries on relationship between problems of leadership and economic developments either concentrate in one country especially Nigeria, Liberia and Zimbabwe   or   are carried out with the immediate post colonial Africa in mind (see, Echezona, 1993:99; Hassan, 2002; Hazeley, 2002 and Achebe, 1983). This does not help us to understand the contemporary link between leadership problems and development crises hence this forms the lacuna in literature that we seek to bridge. This study therefore span a period from 1960-2009 with emphasis on the major sub- Saharan African states. Most states in the region are characterized by immanent crises of development; the tendency for the US failed States Index to rank states in the region among the first 20 – 30 states at the risk of violent internal conflict that can erupt like a volcano any moment; and the tendency for apparent shabby scholarly articulation of interlinks of leadership problems and development crises in the region. In the context of the foregoing discourse we pose the following questions:

1)  Is there a link between persisting economic crises and incompetence on the part of political leadership   in sub- Saharan Africa?

2)  Do leadership problems in sub – Saharan Africa account for poor integration of the region’s economies into the global economy?

3)  Is leadership failure responsible for poor inter- state relation in sub- Saharan Africa?

1.2    Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the linkage between the method of political leadership and crises of development in sub- Saharan Africa between 1960 and 2009. Specifically, this study has the following objectives.

1)  To ascertain if there is any link between persisting economic crises and incompetence on the part of political leadership   in sub- Saharan Africa.

2)  To examine if leadership problems in sub – Saharan Africa account for poor integration of the region’s economies into the global economy in the period under study.

3)  To determine whether leadership failure is responsible for poor inter- state relation in sub- Saharan Africa.

1.3   Significance of the Study 

The study has both practical and theoretical significance. Practically, the study will inform and guide policy makers of sub-Saharan African states in policy process in relation with their external environment and in their domestic policy making and implementation process to develop their various economies. It will also guide investors to determine the direction of policies of leadership class and the degree of political stability in sub-Saharan African while considering investment friendly sites and also to other business ventures within the region. This study will also serve as a manual for every peace chart in the region between rival groups and provide guide to aid agencies in delivering aid to achieve economic growth and development.

Theoretically, this study furnishes both students and staff of Political Science in particular and Social Sciences in general with new knowledge of leadership failure and crises of development in the region. The study will also serve as the theoretical base for the socio- economic and political transformation of the sub- Saharan African economies. It will also aid the political leadership in preparing development projects and programmes for the region. Finally, this study will serve as a source of secondary data for future researcher in the areas of leadership studies, development crisis and state failure in Africa.



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