The Wall Street Journal had an interesting map of Africa (see below) late last month which Thomas Barnett commented on in his blog. As he notes, Africa has more nations per square mile than any other continent – which can make life difficult for Africa’s landlocked nations. To help with the economic situations confronting different regions, the map shows three economic blocs or networks established to connect the inside of the continent with the coast – and the world beyond that.
Needless to say, this map should be overlaid with a civilizational map of the continent (see above). In such a map we see what Samuel Huntington would call a civilizational fault line running east-west across the north-central stretch of the continent and then running south along the east coast. When we compare the two maps we see that the Islamic north cuts right through the “Economic Community of West African States" and creeps into the newer economic bloc on the east coast.
Given this civilizational fault line, where eruptions break out between Christians and Muslims, it should not surprise us that the southernmost economic network has encompassed the same number of nations as the slightly older West African bloc and could continue expanding to include the budding eastern coastal bloc. As time passes, it’s safe to say that the African Christian south will form more cohesive ties along the civilizational fault line running across the continent.