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

Barack Obama will make his first stop in Sub-Saharan Africa as U.S. president when he arrives tomorrow in Ghana, one of only 10 countries that Freedom House rates as Free in the region. Obama said he chose Ghana to highlight a country that is governed effectively, where leadership is accountable to the people and institutions are stronger than any one person.

Freedom House strongly urges Gabon’s interim leadership to organize democratic elections to replace President Omar Bongo, who died Monday after leading the west-central African nation for 42 years.

Freedom House Deputy Executive Director Tom Melia
Subcommittee on African Affairs of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; July 15, 2008

The degree of press freedom in the world declined in 1998, according to a survey of the news media issued today by Freedom House.

Pages

Experts

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.

Project Director, Southern Africa
Director of Research, Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press

Jennifer Dunham is the director of research of Freedom of the Press and Freedom in the World, and writes country reports on Southern and East Africa. 

21 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
38
(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
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
69 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 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
80
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
1.6 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.8 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
65
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
26 million people
Press:
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
28
(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
3.5 / 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
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
170 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
33
(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
50
(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
26
(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
65
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
1.2 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
48 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
6 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
36 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
34
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
14 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
43
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
13 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
55
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
Scores Overview
9.4 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating

Countries We're Watching

IMF

Northern Ireland was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

LRA

Northern Ireland was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see United...

NTV

Freedom in the World 2017

...

Reunion is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.

Freedom in the World began assessing the West Bank as a separate territory in its 2011 edition. For a complete explanation of the changes...

KCK
OAS

Countries at the Crossroads, published from 2004 to 2012, was an annual analysis of government performance in 70 strategically...

The Arab Spring of 2011 launched an era of sweeping political changes in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which has historically...

NGO
PRI

Over the past few years, many of Freedom House’s publications, including Freedom in the...

ISI

The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been covered in different ways by Freedom House surveys over the years, as indicated below. In some cases they...

CNN

Freedom of the Press last assessed the Israeli-Occupied Territories and Palestinian Authority as such in its 2011 edition. For a complete...

Yugoslavia was last assessed as such in the 2003 editions of Freedom in the World, Freedom of the Press, and Nations in Transit. For subsequent...

ICC

Freedom in the World last assessed the Palestinian Authority–Administered Territories as such in its 2010 edition. For a complete...

The Americas are second only to Western Europe in levels of freedom and respect for human rights.  Nonetheless, a rise in violent crime and...


For several years Freedom House has worked with human rights defenders and civic activists in Belarus to...

DPP
PAN
ITU

Serbia and Montenegro was last assessed as such in the 2006 editions of Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. For more recent data,...

PKK
AKP

Chechnya was last assessed separately in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see Russia ...

UN

WHAT IS FREEDOM ON THE NET?

Freedom on the Net is a Freedom House project consisting of cutting-edge analysis, fact-based...

Greenland is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see Denmark.

MTN
DRL
=

French Polynesia is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.


WHAT DOES NATIONS IN TRANSIT MEASURE?

The Nations in Transit annual...

<p>Macao was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see <a href="/country/china">China...

Freedom House’s innovative publication, Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, analyzes the status of women in the region...

French Guiana is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.

OIC

Macao was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see China...

The Mark Palmer Forum for the Advancement of Democracy honors the legacy of Ambassador Mark Palmer, long-time Freedom House...

UAE

Freedom of the Press began assessing the West Bank and Gaza Strip as such in its 2012 edition. For a complete explanation of the changes...

GNC

Freedom in the World last assessed the Israeli-Occupied Territories as such in its 2010 edition. For a complete explanation of the...

ch

A monthly update of press freedom news and analysis related to China

Freedom...

New Caledonia is not assessed separately by Freedom House. Please see France.

AFP
IGF

Chechnya was last assessed separately in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

MCC
M23

Since 2011, Freedom House has rated Mexico “Not Free” in its annual Freedom of the Press report primarily because of ongoing violence against...

Iraqi Kurdistan was last assessed by Freedom in the World in 2004. Please see Iraq for more recent data...

Freedom of the Press 2017

...

West Papua was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see Indonesia for...

Iraqi Kurdistan was last assessed separately in the 2004 edition of Freedom in the World. Please see...

STT