Political crises flare up in sub-Saharan Africa

Oromo people protest against government repression in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, October 1, 2016: Oromo people protest against repressive measures by the Ethiopian government during the Irreechaa new year holiday (source: dpa)


  • In sub-Saharan Africa, many entrenched leaders refuse to leave power
  • Some have fostered development, but most rely on political repression
  • Government crackdowns have led to protests, violence and instability
  • In most countries, reform cannot be expected soon

Poor governance, violence and leadership crises continue to undermine sub-Saharan Africa’s potential. A combination of factors – including “third-termism,” ethnic tensions, slowing economic growth and increasing access to social media – is driving popular protests across the region. These crises coincide with a number of pressing local, regional and global challenges, including economic downturns, energy deficits, rapid urbanization, rising unemployment, terrorism and the adverse effects of climate change. To successfully meet these challenges, most sub-Saharan African countries must undergo deep reforms and political change. Whether that will occur depends on the circumstances in each country, but in most, it does not look likely.

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