Sub-Saharan Africa | Page 150 | Freedom House

Sub-Saharan Africa

Despite being home to several of the world’s worst performing countries in terms of respect for human rights, the region saw overall if uneven progress toward democratization during the 1990s and the early 2000s. However, recent years have seen backsliding among both the top performers, such as South Africa, and the more repressive countries, such as The Gambia and Ethiopia. Lack of adherence to the rule of law, infringements on the freedoms of expression and association, widespread corruption, and discrimination against women and the LGBT community remain serious problems in many countries. Across the continent, Freedom House works to strengthen elections and civic mobilization, good governance, defense of human rights, rule of law, and independent media.

Asterisks in the country list below indicate a territory rather than a country.

Countries & Territories: 50
993 million people
12% free
Press:
1% free

Percent computed by population. Population source data.

News & Updates

Vukasin Petrovic
former Senior Director for Program Strategy, Development and Learning

This week, U.S. officials will once again welcome one of the world’s most kleptocratic living autocrats: president of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. What possible reason, you might ask, does the administration have for meeting with a man who has amassed an enormous personal fortune by siphoning the lion’s share of his country’s wealth for himself and his cronies while his citizens are literally starving? We are wondering the same thing.

Award-winning activist Farai Maguwu, in a discussion at Freedom House on June 7, highlighted the ongoing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields and the lack of transparency in the mining contracts.

The decision by Uganda’s police force to reopen cases of violence committed against journalists in 2011, including two unsolved murders, is a positive step for a country that has suffered serious setbacks in freedom of expression amid increasing attacks on journalists, violent crackdowns on peaceful protest and journalists who cover them, and ongoing attempts to circumscribe press freedom through legal and regulatory means.

Charles Taylor, one of West Africa’s most infamous political figures, was arrested and handed over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2006 to be tried for crimes committed during that country’s brutal civil war. Last month, after a trial that lasted almost five years, featured 115 witness testimonies, and cost approximately $250 million, the court found Taylor guilty of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, and the conscription of child soldiers. The prosecution requested an 80-year prison sentence. Today, the former Liberian president was sentenced to 50 years, to be served in a British correctional facility. Taylor’s legal team is likely to appeal.

Pages

Experts

Senior Program Officer, Africa

Yoseph Mulugeta Badwaza is the Senior Program Officer for Ethiopia at Freedom House.

Issues: 
Senior Vice President, Programs

Lisa Dickieson is senior vice president for programs. Before joining Freedom House, she was head of the Democracy and Governance Practice at Chemonics International.

Director, Africa Programs

Jon Temin is the Director for Sub-Saharan Africa Programs at Freedom House. 

Issues: 
21 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
40
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
9.4 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.9 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
17 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
11 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
21 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
510 thousand people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.6 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
12 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
773 thousand people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.2 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
69 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
21 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
923 thousand people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
740 thousand people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
5.6 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
87 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
86
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
1.6 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.8 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
67
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
26 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
11 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.6 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
43 million people
Internet:
Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
29
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
2.2 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.2 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
22 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
16 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
42
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
16 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
3.6 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.3 million people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
24 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
2.4 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
16 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
170 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
34
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
11 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
53
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
183 thousand people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
13 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
93 thousand people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
6.1 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
10 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
51 million people
Internet:
Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
25
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
33 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
64
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
1.2 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
48 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
6 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
36 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
41
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
14 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
41
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
13 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
56
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
Scores Overview
9.4 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating

Programs

Advancing human rights for key populations in Uganda

Freedom House undertook rapid conflict assessments in 16 at-risk communities in six provinces throughout South Africa. 

Issues: 

 In June 2016, Freedom House will hold a symposium gathering the partners involved in the Justice as a Right in Southern Africa (JARSA) program to celebrate their achievements and promote the importance of judicial independence.

The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack and advocacy support responding to broader threats to civil society. 

Freedom House administers several funds which offer emergency assistance to organizations and individuals around the world who are under threat because of their human rights work.

Freedom House led a four-day International Joint Partnership Freedom of Expression mission to Uganda to examine the country’s freedom of expression environment in 2010. 

Freedom House works with regional partners to introduce key strategies and tools for human rights legal defense, and advocates for a strong regional tribunal.

Throughout the continent, Freedom House works to strengthen elections and civic mobilization, good governance, defense of human rights, rule of law and judicial independence, and media.

Issues: