State coherence was being endangered as competition for educational opportunities and jobs made members of the political elite more aware of their ethnic identities. The persistence of African leaders in pursuing redistributive policies irrespective of their costs to the system, therefore, is explained by the relative effectiveness of these policies in maintaining state coherence. While the potential contribution by the market forces to the development of society at large and to the evolution of greater state coherence is clear, recognition must be made of its possible negative side effect. While political leaders in Africa are likely to find the market more difficult than the bureaucracy to tame, there is reason for a wider recognition of the historical role played by the market in promoting economic development and state coherence. The political economy of Africa has many unique features which make it difficult to subsume under conceptualizations and categorizations derived from the historical experience of other societies.