The Touareg rebel movement in Northern Mali has proclaimed the independence of Azawad, according to the website of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad. The rebels already control most of Northern Mali. BBC News - Tuareg rebels declare independence in north Mali Is this a sign of things to come in Africa? We already had the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia and more recently of South Sudan from Sudan. The old colonial borders of the many failed African states may no longer hold. Frankly, I think this would be a good thing. Certainly it would bring instability, but the only stability many of these failed African states have brought over the last 50 years is the stability of poverty and underdevelopment. It's time for these old failed structures to give way to new political structures that are more closely related to the actual national groups and the reality on the ground. Obviously there are risks in this. In Mali one of the risks is that the Azawad movement may be hijacked by Muslim extremists. But there are also opportunities for better government in breaking up the old failed states.