Transformation of National Identity, Geo-politics and Nation Building in Post-colonial African States: The Cases of Cameroon and Senegal

Ngwa N. R. , AKGÜN B.

Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0021909621992790
  • Title of Journal : Journal of Asian and African Studies


© The Author(s) 2021.This article examines the evolving nature of national identity and its significance to geo-politics and nation-building in post-colonial African states, specifically Cameroon and Senegal. Within the current global context, previous theories and scholars failed to explain how recent changes in national identity inform the choice of geo-politics in post-colonial Cameroon and Senegal. It is against this backdrop that this article examines the extent to which changes in elite and public perception on national identity transcended national borders and spilled over to the geo-political landscape. The paper relied on a mixed-method research design that combines elements of qualitative and quantitative techniques. The mixed-method approach is anchored on comparative case study techniques. The data were largely drawn from both primary and secondary sources; the primary sources included semi-structured interviews, and public statements, while the secondary sources comprised educational curriculums, Afrobarometer, World Bank data and the Swiss Economic Globalization Index. The outcome of the analysis showed that in recent years changes in national identity have transcended national borders and spilled over to the geo-political landscape. Findings revealed the extent to which the underlying features of national identity have been indigenized, Africanized and globalized to symbolize what it means to be a Cameroonian and Senegalese Citizen. Comparatively, it was established that Senegal has assumed a more dynamic image and position in geo-politics than Cameroon. Nonetheless, Cameroon’s and Senegal’s recent dynamic and versatile image accounts for the new type of national identity theorized in this paper as a form of strategic identity. The paper also highlighted the challenges and significance of strategic identity to issues of growth, nation and peace-building.