Big African states are among the least successful on the continent. Countries with a combination of a large land mass and a sizeable population tend to be chronically unstable politically and economically. Allowing their problems to fester, the case all too often in the past, is a source of continuing hardship to their citizens and neighbors alike. The international community needs to consider a new approach to the problems of these nations.

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About the Authors
Marina Ottway
is senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment. She is the coauthor of The Right Road to Sovereignty in Iraq (Carnegie Policy Brief No. 27) and author of Africa's New Leaders: Democracy or State Reconstruction (Carnegie Endowment, 1999) and Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism (Carnegie Endowment, 2003).
Jeffrey Herbst is professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control (Princeton University Press, 2000) and coauthor (with Greg Mills) of The Future of Africa: A New Order in Sight? (Adelphi Paper No. 361).
Greg Mills is national director of the South African Institute of International Affairs. He is the author of Poverty and Prosperity: Globalization, Good Governance and African Recovery (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 2002).

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