From "Africa in Perspective," a new book by former Nigerian head of state Olusegun Obasanjo:

I believe that the larger the political entities that make up Africa, the greater will be their stability in the long run. We must realize the advantages in size and in the economies of scale. I do not minimize the difficulties of persuading many Africans to see these larger issues. Most of the largest African countries -- Zaire, Nigeria, the Sudan, and Ethiopia, for example -- have faced the threat or reality of civil war. Yet none of them has broken up, and it is my judgment that none is likely to do so. Unquestionably, however, the weaker Africa's economic circumstances, the less likely we are to see broader vision prevail. . . .

The Western world has, until now, tended to concern itself little with the political or economic health of Africa, perpetuating instead a superficial view based in part on the myths we have discussed, in part because of perceived self-interest in thus maintaining their own economic and political dominance. We are entering an era, however, in which even the United States is having to recognize global economic interdependence. . . .It may not be long before the need to strengthen African economies may be viewed as essential to healthy First World economies. . . .

Africans, meanwhile will need to dispense with myths they hold dear, not least because in doing so they will start a process that will in itself dispel the surviving myths about them in the Western world. It is the Africans who need urgently to shed their blinders about the essential challenges of economic, social, and political development. They must come to accept that an unjust international order will not change simply because of the euphony of their own rhetoric or the indignation accompanying their moral pressure.