This chapter analyzes how African states have attempted to use public policies as a means for mediating the sometimes competing claims of ethnic self-assertion and state survival. It looks at the postcolonial African state as a potentially autonomous political actor whose primary objective is survival. The chapter examines how selected African states have attempted to utilize public policies to mediate ethnic conflict and thus to avoid the most serious crises of self-determination. It suggests a typology for conceptualizing public policy in Africa. The chapter identifies five types of policies which have been most frequently employed by African policy-makers: distributive, regulatory, redistributive, reorganizational and symbolic policies. Religious and language policies which demonstrate a respect for linguistic and religious minorities in multiethnic societies are generally more effective than policies which attempt to impose the language or religion of a culturally dominant ethnic group on minorities.