Sub-Saharan Democracy

Is freedom in retreat in Africa?

  • By:Jason McLure
  • Content Type: Report
  • Publisher: CQ Press
    • Publication year: 2011
    • Online pub date:
  • DOI:


Despite a recent economic renaissance, some say much of sub-Saharan Africa is drifting toward a new age of authoritarianism. After the Cold War — when the superpowers propped up African dictators as proxy pawns in a global ideological chess match — the seeds of democracy rapidly spread across the continent. By 2000, nearly half of sub-Saharan Africa's 48 countries were considered electoral democracies. But democratic progress stalled and even regressed in the 2000s. By one measure, freedom in the region has retreated to about the same level it was in 1992–1993. Human rights are eroding in influential countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast. Experts blame Africa's continuing ethnic tensions and the emergence of China as a major trading partner. Western governments are ...

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