Nation-building has long been seen as an important focus for postcolonial African governments. However, up until now there has been no empirical analysis of either the origins or consequences of these policies. Here we compile an original dataset measuring nine different types of nation-building policies. Using Ordinary Least Squares regressions, we first show that nation-building policies are correlated with larger states and British colonialism. We then use logistic regressions to test the effect of such policies on civil wars using two different datasets of civil wars, and find no evidence that such policies have helped to prevent civil war.