Sub-Saharan Africa | Page 164 | 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

On November 4, Freedom House released the findings from Countries at the Crossroads 2011, at a panel discussion hosted by The Atlantic Council.

The victory of opposition Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata in Zambia’s September presidential election was a welcome example of an almost entirely peaceful rotation of power in a maturing African electoral democracy. President Sata can now carry Zambia further into a position of continental leadership by quickly making good on three campaign promises: revising Zambia’s draft constitution to better protect basic freedoms, fighting corruption, and properly protecting the rights of all Zambian workers, especially those employed in the growing number of Chinese-owned mines and related industries.

 

Threats to media freedom in South Africa—which has had one of the most open press environments on the continent since the end of apartheid more than 15 years ago—have increased in recent years, raising fears of backsliding in a country seen as a model in the region. These threats have occurred in the context of multiple challenges to democratic consolidation, including recent encroachments on judicial independence and other institutions that provide checks and balances on executive power. In addition, an upsurge of inflammatory rhetoric directed at the white minority, particularly by the faction headed by Julius Malema, president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, has led to the overt injection of race into various debates on political and socioeconomic issues and resulted in increased self-censorship by non-blacks on a range of issues.

A range of governments are increasingly restricting media freedom using licensing and regulatory frameworks and receive little criticism or attention for doing so, according to Freedom House’s newest report, License to Censor: The Use of Media Regulation to Restrict Press Freedom.

Pages

Experts

Project Director, Southern Africa
Senior Program Officer, Africa

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

Issues: 
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: