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JSPES, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Fall 2004)
pp. 291-303

Communal Values, Cultural Identity and the Challenge of Development in Contemporary Africa

Olatunji A. Oyeshile

Given the urgency to transcend its image as a "dark continent," every African should be concerned about the need to arrest the level of disorder which has made corruption and ethnic warfare the trade mark of most African states. The problem of African development has been traced among other factors to political instability, economic crises, societal breakdown, demographic pressures, Christian, Moslem and pagan religious conflicts, and the incompatible ethnic configuration of African states due to amalgamation of diverse tribal and ethnic groups within political borders established under colonial rule. We therefore argue that the traditional African emphasis on communal values needs to be reinvigorated while remembering that African leaders need to be more ready to adopt new values and ideas such as will promote future development.