Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

'African states not viable': Your emails

Stock Exchange in the African Development Bank, Tunis

Some African countries are too small to survive, according to Sudan-born tycoon Mo Ibrahim. The businessman has told a conference on good governance in Africa that economic integration is crucial if the continent is to compete in a global market. BBC readers emailed their thoughts on his speech.

Once again Mr Ibrahim touched upon a part of the solution but to make it work, we'll have to establish a constructive leadership mindset in Africa first as this is the main obstacle to development on our continent. After 33 years in development work in Africa, the only solution to develop people of the same calibre as Mr Ibrahim is to focus all aid on leadership training in order to establish the mindset necessary to drag ourselves into the current millenium.
Col (rtd) Daan vd Merwe, Marico South Africa

Not small in terms of size but we need bigger economic blocks and to bargain as a block. Why can't we do an 'OPEC' with our coffee, tea, tourism etc?
Francis Wamwangi, Nanyuki, Kenya

Somebody is telling Africa what it needs to hear. This makes absolute sense.
Jared, Nairobi-Kenya

Too small to exist independently looks to me like an overstatement, because even micro organisms still live on their own. I think this is what makes the world complex and complete. The world is a global village. Unlike him [Mo Ibrahim], I don't think we have to unite all economic unions in Africa in order to be able to compete with the economic giants.
Justus Ashiyi , Yaounde Cameroon

If even Mr Ibrahim is beginning to realize that something is "drastically wrong" with the way Africa is governed, this is progress indeed. Progress because it was only a few years ago when he set up his well-meant but ridiculous prize for leadership; as if any sane African ruler was ever going to abandon his unfettered ability to steal from his people, for a couple of Mr Ibrahim's millions. Nonetheless, better late than never. I hope he can also convince his fellow Western-based Afro-optimists about how very unserious our rulers are about poverty reduction.
AKPAN, Canterbury, UK/Nigeria

I agree with Mo Ibrahim 100% that African countries are small to be operating as units. If even European economies with huge resources see it imperative to integrate, what excuse has Africa got not to do same? But the question remains: are our selfish and power-drunk leaders prepared to integrate? Not until our political systems are lowered, I doubt whether we can do that economically.

Abednego Otchere, Kumasi, Ghana

I don't want to believe that the size of a country has influence on its economy. The problem with Africa is not only limited to economic resources but utilization, good governance and equal distribution of its resources. People take power and build for themselves empires in Europe and America as a result the continent is marked by corruption, conflicts and wars. Africa need leaders with sense of nationalism, patriotism and responsibility. Whether it is Nigeria or Swaziland, the issue still remain the same - equal distribution of wealth.
D. Levi Hinneh, Monrovia, Liberia

Africans need to get themselves out of the post colonial 'hangover', by electing a new generation of leaders that embrace a global approach to the social and economic problems affecting them. In Africa, business funds politics and politics rewards business even if it is by corrupt means. In essence, our economies are 'addicted' to our politics. Unless we decide for ourselves as Africans to 'institutionalise' politics and delink our economies from the whims of politicians, our economies will forever be enslaved to politicians who are business-minded, at the expense of other citizens.
Felix Wafula, Kisumu, Kenya

I share the belief that most African countries are too small to operate independently! Given the fact that almost 80% are poverty stricken, there is absolutely nothing they can do for their people! So integrating for complete economic vibrancy is the best idea that could happen!
Joe Noutoua Wandah, Paynesville, Liberian

Yes, Africa must create an economic African Union with teeth and for that it needs a new breed of leaders with compassion for their people, strategic vision and the ability to implement solutions - even if white people have to be engaged to make it work. If I have food on my table, a hospital that cures my illnesses and a school that teaches my children I don't care if ministers are green, black, pink or white and for sure no African needs a statue in Senegal taller than the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
Artur de Freitas, Johannesburg - South Africa

Many African countries are too small to go it alone. There is need to merge our economies in order to survive. Africa has 80% of all the minerals and other resources in the world so why is it still poor? Aside size there is also a case of bad leadership coupled with endemic corruption on the continent.
Vincent Ocran, Accra, Ghana

I support the motion that small countries should exist independently because we have moved from colonial rule to self-determination.
Gibrilla M Kamara, Sierra Leone

Integration is inevitable. In this global village no country can exist independently. There is need for African countries, particularly the small ones, to integrate with others economically and politically for survival. This integration can bring in economic help, technological enhancement and educational advancement. Sharing of ideas and financial resources can help in development of Africa's industries and enhance its emerging democracy.
Gungira Lickson, Harare, Zimbabwe

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