• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Africa: U.S. Leadership Needed to Promote Democracy



    Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World 2014 found that sub-Saharan Africa declined in all seven categories of global political rights and civil liberties.

    Most telling was that, of the 10 countries listed as the “Worst of the Worst” in this year’s report, five were African countries, including the Central African Republic (CAR), one of the report’s most startling changes, moving from the category of “partly free” to “not free.” The CAR slipped a total of 33 points on the report’s 100-point scale. Benin, long listed as one of the few “free” countries in sub-Saharan Africa, received a downward trend arrow, reflecting increasing efforts by the executive to consolidate power. South Sudan declined in the civil liberties category following the political instability turned violent power struggle between the president and the former vice president.

    Positive improvements in civil liberties and political rights registered in several African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, and Togo. Significantly, Mali was the only country globally that successfully rose from “not free” to “partly free.” Kenya improved marginally because recent parliamentary and presidential elections were considered more credible than the 2007 election. Nonetheless, the new government’s limits on freedoms of expression and association (culminating with the Kenyan parliament passing a repressive law forming a government review body to regulate media in the country) resulted in an overall net decline in scores.

    Freedom House emphasizes that many of the losses of freedom globally are the result of “a crisis of confidence among leading democracies, particularly the United States.” Given the growing turmoil in Africa and the emergence of what the report’s authors label modern authoritarian states, democratic governance is losing ground in the region. The authors make a pointed observation that, for the Obama Administration “the encouragement of democracy is no longer a priority.”

    A decade ago, freedom may have been (in the words of George W. Bush) on the march, but if President Obama does not take these losses seriously, much of America’s political and economic investment in sub-Saharan Africa will be lost at the hand of authoritarian regimes.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.