Many African nations became sovereign following the Second World War. New African leaders were confronted by arbitrary boundaries and inherited state structures in ethnically diverse regions. Failing to realize their country?s potential, the first generation of leaders fell into kleptocratic methods of governing. Ethnic communities, political leaders, warlords and civilians soon discovered the most effective and efficient path to power and personal gain to be achieved with the simplicity and lethality of small arms, and in particular, the AK47. Tropical Africa has an abundance of natural resources and raw material, and illicit arms trade. Porous borders help facilitate movement of arms, combatants, and violence. The region continues to struggle to find an identity. Individuals, groups and organizations form in order to seek wealth, security and an identity of their own. Simultaneously, governments struggle to provide for the people while seeking personal wealth, security and identity. Grievance, greed and small arms are prolific and ubiquitous throughout Tropical Africa. The AK47 is the tool that shapes identity in Africa?s cycle of kleptocratic semi-democracies.