JE Menon wrote:
all the nations in this map barring a couple like kenya, uganda and ghana are failed states. and the viable ones are being attacked by folks like Al-Shabab.
GD, this is a bit of a canard that is out there largely for undiscernible purpose because it really helps no one. As things stand, in sub-Saharan Africa, the states that are (strictly speaking) failed or failing are only a handful - Somalia, Central African Republic, to a lesser extent Mali, and to a still lesser extent South Sudan, and ebola-hit Liberia and Sierra Leone. Other than these if one could name two more African countries in the dire state that requires the label failed or failing, it would be a bit of a surprise.
These are mostly states that are gradually stabilising their polities, gingerly stepping into the confusing and loud mess that is democracy, very gradually deregulating their economies, slowly regaining their cultural confidence, and steadily working their way up the human development chain. It seems to me, though I haven't studied the data, that primary education in many of these countries may not be excellent but foundationally quite strong and available to those who wish to avail. There will be hiccups, and these will be played up (depending on whose colony they used to be) by the viciously misdirecting propaganda instruments that pass (largely) for the mainstream Western media. But these will be temporary and localised in my opinion. The penetration of television has helped a lot, and the influx of both private sector investment from India and government projects backed by China is making small but progressively noticeable difference. Still, this is largely an African generated and African inspired process. It is done through small co-operative projects, village level microfinance, women's initiatives, etc etc.
The sound and fury we hear at the governmental level is the noise of participation, which also involves violence. A bit like India, say, in the 1980s where the local parties are slugging it out on the streets literally. Even Zimbabwe (remember the huge hullabaloo about Robert Mugabe?) is quietly back on track after dollarizing it's currency... Things are not so stark as the trash viewsmedia (BBC/CNN/SKY/FOX and the related print media primarily) would have us believe. At least 5 of these sub-Saharan countries (excluding Nigeria and South Africa) have per capita incomes higher than that of India!
I say all the above from personal observation of about 6 of these countries, and local print media scanning of these and others.
Now, coming to Al Shabab, this group is an instrument for needling and poking, nothing more. They will keep on killing, continually, in East Africa particularly Kenya but they will not be able to affect or change anything very fundamentally. The economy will take a hit, but people will learn to work around terrorism - just as they have done in India. There is also little patience for radical Islam among East African authorities, who can be quite merciless and rightly so. They all recognise that there is a chance for progress, growth and to bring welfare to their people and broadly speaking they all want to achieve it. Is there corruption? Yes. Petty corruption? Yes. Is infrastructure poor? Yes. Is progress slow and decisions glacierly? Yes. Is the informal economy cutting loose? Happily yes. Are people hustling on the ground? Absolutely bloody yes. Are the kids being sent to school? Yes again. Each country has its own pace, and its own pecularities and political proclivities - but these are not failing states.
Don't know enough about Boko Haram to comment, but I suspect nothing of the sort that ISIS is doing will succeed in Nigeria. Steadily violence against this group will result in their bloody suppression. The violent Islamist tendency will persist, but it will not threaten the state in a fundamental way I don't think. However, I will hedge here by saying I've not followed this particular problem closely enough. This is just a semi-informed view.