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

Recent rhetoric by members of government and religious groups in Ghana has created a perilous environment for the Ghanaian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population.Government minister and parliament member, Paul Evan Aidoo, has repeatedly and publicly condemned homosexuality, including a call for landlords to report any person suspected to be a homosexual to police. Another parliament member, David Tetteh, called for the “public lynching of homosexuals.”

Radio station staffer Farah Hassan Sahal was killed August 4 in Mogadishu, Somalia by sniper gunfire. Sahal was attempting to transport radio equipment with two of his colleagues when caught in between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union in Somalia (AMISOM) forces exchanging gunfire with Al Shabaab forces. Sahal had worked for Radio Simba since its formation in 2006. Since fighting restarted in the Bakaraa area of Mogadishu, Radio Simba had been off the air and its staff unable to do their reporting within the last few days.

On July 26, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US government aid agency, announced it would place an operational hold on all money intended for Malawi while it reviews the agency’s partnership with the country. This announcement comes as a response to the violent crackdown by the Malawian government on demonstrators protesting rising food and fuel prices, as well as what many citizens view as increasingly authoritarian moves by President Bingu wa Mutharika. Nineteen people were killed after Malawian authorities opened fire on assembled protesters and 500 people have since been arrested and detained by authorities, with many civil society leaders and media professionals hiding in fear for their life.

On July 23, participants and journalists observing a Zimbabwean parliamentary hearing were harassed and assaulted by Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party supporters. Nearly 300 supporters of the political party intentionally disrupted a hearing held to assess public viewpoints on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill (ZHRC), and initially prevented the public and civil society organizations from making submissions. The unruly mob harassed and assaulted parliamentary members and journalists Aaron Ufumeli, Lev Mukarati and Nqaba Matshazi. ZANU-PF supporters forcefully removed Mukarate and Matshazi from the room, demanding that Ufumeli delete his pictures after attempting to steal his camera. The three journalists were also accused by the group of ZANU-PF supporters of falsifying information.

Pages

Experts

Project Director, Southern Africa
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: