The period of European dominance, brief though it was for most of Africa, has bestowed a pattern of institutions and habits derived from the various ruling powers. For most Africans, this means either a British or a French pattern. Outside the Arab countries, the African languages are so numerous and mostly so confined to small areas (C) that the new independent states use either English or French as their main political languages. (French is also used in the ex-Belgian Congo, English in American-sponsored Liberia). British and French political institutions are by no means regarded as sacrosanct, and indeed are bound to undergo many changes; Ghana (19), for example, has already become a republic with a strong presidency, and, together with most of its 'French-language' neighbours, has moved towards a one-party system. But the influence of language and habit is strong enough to make for difficulty in the drawing together of African states from the two groups -- e.g. the Cameroons (21), the Ghana-Guinea 'union' (13, 17, K).
Independence has not, in any case, broken all the ties between former dependencies and former ruling powers. Ex-British and ex- French states in general remain members respectively of the sterling area and the franc zone, retain tariff preferences and advantageous trading arrangements, and still rely largely on shipping, air, and telecommunications services centred on the former metropolitan country. The map shows which ex-British territories remain in the Commonwealth; it does not distinguish ex-French territories that still belong to the French Community (14) from those that do not, for most of the latter also retain close links with France, including defence agreements and economic aid.