Introduction Africa for the most part came to independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, within a global order which – paradoxically, given the levels of conflict and insecurity generated by the Cold War in much of the world – was ideally suited to the needs of generally small, weak, poor, and artificially created African states. As a result, these were able to develop and generally put into practice ideologies of international relations that corresponded closely to their needs. This was particularly notable as far as the conception of state sovereignty was concerned. The idea was already outdated in the European states from which it originally derived, but nevertheless the idea of state sovereignty enabled African governments to maximize international support for their continued tenure of power. At the same time, general international respect for their sovereignty absolved them from many of the demands that had underlain the development of the doctrine of sovereignty in Europe. This was the case for territorial defence against potentially threatening neighbours as well as the creation of institutions for effective internal governance.