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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 interstate
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% (www.subsaharanafricapolitical.com). 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 (www. development .com).
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 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
1.2 Objectives of 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
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
1.4 Literature Review
Literature on political leadership is much but has not received enough attention in the
recent past, and there are several criticisms of political leadership in Africa and other
developing economies. The study is narrowed to the following sub themes deriving from
our research questions.
A) Leadership problem and economic crises
B) Integration of Saharan African Economies into the global economy
C) Leadership and Inter- state relations in sub- Saharan Africa.
Leadership Problems and Economic Crises
Echezona (1998) quoting Claude Ake examined the state in capitalist society and
related it to the states in Africa. According to him, what distinguishes a capitalist society
from other societies is the pervasiveness of commoditization and autonomization.
Inherent in this assessment of state in capitalist societies in relation of capitalist states in
Africa is the fact that the way capitalism or capitalist state operates in Africa is different
from the way it operates in the Western world that hoisted it on Africa. Thus, it was
observed that in Africa, there has been willfully wrong placement of emphasis
(pervasiveness) on the acquisition of material wealth i.e. (commoditization) and the result
of which there emerged the autonomy of dominance by the wealthy ones over the poor ones i.e. autonomization of domination. These were the flaws of capitalist states in Africa
and these flaws are invisible in the western capitalist states.
To complicate and worsen the situation Anene and Brown (1981:47) noted that
the colonialist did not stop at merging of incompatible ethnic nations but also went on to
sensitizing and fuelling of ethnic division and differences so as to forestall any possible
integration and unity of the people in the state-colonies. In a very closely related
observation, Anene and Brown stressed on the excess ethnic awareness as one of the
complex legacies of colonial administration in Africa. Moron-Browne rightly observed
that one of the injurious legacies of colonial era in Africa was the intensification of ethnic
awareness either by altering the demographic balance or by introducing a new political
Similarly, Vicker (1993) observes that ethnic conflicts occur as a result of
colonial power’s arbitrarily drawn frontiers following the 1884/1885 Berlin colonial
partition of Africa. This stems from the fact that most African states are but
amalgamation of different ethnic/national groups who have differences in their historical
background, cultural language, ideology and religion.
Nonetheless, Ake (1985) viewed leadership in Africa as one of the injurious
imports of the capitalist system of production in Africa. He argued that the capitalist
system of production brought into Africa a very serious antagonism between and among
leaders in different states of Africa, and consequent upon which there ensued crises
among them. Hence, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Claude
Ake etc had argued that these conflicts are squarely the products of the emergence of
capitalism in Africa. They contended that the dynamic interplay of issues in capitalist system of production created antagonistic tendencies among the people since the relations
of production are mostly the relations of conflict and crises among different competing
interest struggling over the surplus that accrue in the production of goods and services.
Ezema (2001:51) cited some other case illustrations on where the schemes of
deprivation or alienation cause leadership crises especially in the period of post cold war
years in Africa. These include: the Liberian crises of twentieth century and beyond, the
Sierra Leone crises of twentieth century and beyond, also the crises in former Zaire now
Democratic Republic of Congo and the several years of apartheid crises in South African
etc. In fact, virtually all the leadership crises that have occurred in many Africa states
possess the traces of one deprivation or the other. While, this position of relativedeprivation
may appear attractive it fails to tell us why deprivation leads to aggression in
some areas and not the other. It did not account for the leaders influence in the crises of
development and why it has persisted.
Integration of Saharan African Economies into the Global Economy
Ntuli (2004) stated that the phenomenon of globalization appears to be a product
of renewed belief and contestations in a global process, which has drawn the international
community at the threshold of a global village. These range from politics, economy,
communication and education to even agriculture and food. National economies are all
dissolving and distinct management of national economies are all becoming irrelevant
and giving way to globalized strategies characterized by powerful market forces. All
forms of integration have also been a logical consequence of globalization. These include economic and monetary integration. He observed that these formations have affected not
only domestic policies of states but also led to compromise of sovereignty and autonomy
in domestic policy making and implementation. According to Ntuli, this process is not
new to sub-Saharan African region as a part of global community, events and activities in
the region have had their own logical outcomes, which could be attributed to the global
evolution. Part of this is found in the renewed vigor and efforts at coming together in
addressing regional problems ranging from harmonization of serenity efforts, health
legislative activities and process of adjudication. Over and above all is economic and
monetary integration, which is believed to be basis for rejuvenation and extractive
capabilities of member states. According to Ntuli, despite the effort to integrate the
Africa states appear very unlikely to be left behind in emerging global process, since
activities by states in the sub-regions demonstrate reinvigorated desires to become active
players in the “new deal” in the interest of their citizens.
Ntuli concluded that the emerging globalization process had incorporated
adequately economies of African state. While answering in the affirmative, he insisted
that it is not only that globalization has promoted greater developments in the region but
also that the globalization process has facilitated the implementation of treaties of
economic relation. However, Ntuli’s analysis has not helped us to ascertain the rationale
behind the continued problem of integrating African sub-Saharan economies in a world
that is increasingly becoming a global village with capitalism as its fulcrum or the effect
of leadership in the process. It however gave an insight into the status of African
economic integration in to the global economy in positive terms.
Browne (1998) noted that regionalism is not new to the global agenda and that is
more and more frequently bracketed with globalization. All forms of political and
economic cooperation are receiving a higher priority among countries in all regions and
at all levels of development. While stating that regionalism is now in vogue, he noted that
there are a few examples of long established regional groupings that have become
stronger over time. Notably the European Union and the Association of South-East Asia
Nations have but many of those established over the last three decades have been shortlived
or have retained mainly symbolic political significance. The author stated that for a
number of reasons, there has been a growing commitment to regionalism since the late
1980s. Some of the reasons include increased understanding of the importance of trade
and economic openness. Inward-oriented development and self-sufficiency are terms
disappearing from the development lexicon.
He equally observed in many parts of the world, there is a more conciliatory
political climate. The cold war kept many neighbours at political odds. In its after math,
old ideological enemies and political rivals are more willing than before to collaborate.
For instance, countries of the Warsaw pact are now joining the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) and seeking membership of the European Union. The same thing
is happening in West and Central Asia. The arrival of full democracy in South Africa also
gave a new lease of life to the Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference,
renamed a Development Community in 1992. There have also been examples of stronger
regionalism in East and South Asia.
Browne concluded that regionalism is an important manifestation of greater
economic openness being witnessed on a global scale. However, regionalism in the context of a process of global trade liberalization led by the World Trade Organization is
ultimately contributory rather than inimical to free trade. By bringing more countries into
the fold of liberal and outward – looking economies moreover, regionalism also
contribute to continuing reform, especially in countries in a transitional phase away from
central planning and management. Finally while noting that regional bodies also
undertake important security and peace-keeping initiative, trade provides the driving
force for most regional initiatives. While Browne was elaborated on regionalism and
interstates relations, he was not emphatic in sub-Saharan Africa and he did not link
leadership to this poor interstate relation in the region.
Nwanegbo (2005) briefly interrogated the existing concepts of globalization and
regional integration and explored their interconnections in the context of global order. He
was more interested in exploring how the recent craze towards the formation of regional
bodies could give room to, or enhance globalization; hence of little importance for our
review. The author noted that integration entails the building up of a stronger and virile
body that will among other things seek to enhance the people’s way of life and to live. It
denotes the bringing together of hitherto autonomous regions or centres into a whole. It is
the combining of two or more things so that they work together effectively, like the closer
integration of the countries economies.
Using African Union as case study of regional integration, the author remarked
that globalization is not going to get the friendly cooperation to succeed. This is because
some of these regional bodies were established to serve as a center of negotiation,
primarily to cover up for the weakness of its constituting countries, in the face of others
(the bigger body). The author was equally interested in exploring how the formation of regional bodies could enhance the process of globalization. Notwithstanding the close
relationship this has with out task, it did not explore the link between political leadership
and interstate relation in the region under study hence, the questions we posed still beg
for answers.
Garcia (1998) studied Latin American patterns of globalization and regionalism.
She conceptualized globalization to imply changes in the way production is organized as
required by the general dismantling of trade barriers and the free mobility of accelerated
technological change. Rapid integration of national economies into the global market is
another especially conspicuous feature of the process. Garcia remarked that Latin
America has been forced to enter the process of globalization. The results of this process
in the economic sphere, is the repositioning of Latin America in the world economy,
measured by its international competitiveness and in social aspects, have not been
encouraging. According to the author, globalization protects the interest of some people
more than others. Because of this, the best approach towards joining this process of
globalization seems to be through globalization. Although, Garcia analysis was logical, it
was interested in globalization and rationalization in Latin America and this will not help
us to understand the effect of leadership on global integration of sub-Saharan African
Oyejide (1998) examined globalization and its implications for Africa trade policy
and reviewed the trade and patterns of African exports in the context of the regions
perceived marginalization in world trade. He started by conceptualizing globalization as
increased integration, across countries, of markets for good, services and capital. This in
turn implies accelerated expansion of economic activities globally and sharp increases in the movement of tangible and intangible goods across national and regional boundaries.
With that movement, individual countries are becoming more closely integrated into the
global economy. Their trade linkages and investment flows grow more complex, and
cross-border financial movements are more volatile. Deepening integration of trade,
markets and finance all mean increasing independence.
The author argued that Africa’s poor export and overall economic growth
performance predated and therefore, not directly ascribable to the current wave of
globalization. Oyejide was more interested in the marginalization of Africa in world trade
and the way to reverse this trend. He did not see leadership as an impediment towards
this goal or as a willing ally. In fact, his work did not address the issue of political
leadership and economic crises in sub-Saharan Africa.
Similarly Nnanna (2006) took a look at economic and monetary integration in
Africa. He opined that the ultimate goal of regional integration is to create a common
economic space among the participating countries. The process entails the harmonization
of macroeconomic politics, legal frameworks and real convergence. Some other
objectives include the enlargement and diversification of market size, the promotion of
intra-regional trade and the strengthening of member countries bargaining power in the
global economy. Other characteristics include factor, especially, capital and labour, and
the integration of the goods market. The author opines that based on available qualitative
and quantitative assessments the monetary union arrangement, Africa does not satisfy the
OCA conditions when measuring against the following criteria; income structure, product
market flexibility, labour market mobility, degree of opening, intra-trade relations and
asymmetric terms of trade shocks. With regard to income structure, he noted that African

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