In 2006, Dr Greg Mills, Professors Christopher Clapham and Jeffrey Herbst co-edited a volume on Big African States (Wits University Press). This was the outcome of a two-year project which asked the question: Are there special development and governance problems faced by larger African countries (by geography or population size) and what can be done to tackle these problems? The study analysed Angola, DR Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia and South Africa.
In this, one of the most difficult aspects of state creation - reorienting allegiances from local and regional leaders to a distant capital - goes directly to the heart of the vulnerability of the bigger states. Realising these special challenges is, however, a first step in developing realistic solutions appropriate to the needs of their own citizens and to their neighbourhoods, since big states have routinely exported instability rather than prosperity.
The publication can be purchased from Wits University Press
For further analysis, see:
'Time to end the Congo charade'and 'There is no Congo'