The political change that has been so prominent in the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years has been largely absent throughout sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The key socioeconomic and political factors that have driven citizens of MENA into the streets — high unemployment, corruption and authoritarianism — are in some cases even worse in SSA. In Zimbabwe, Namibia, Senegal, Kenya, Swaziland and South Africa the unemployment rates range from 25 to 95 percent. Last year Transparency International ranked many countries in SSA among the worst in the world in terms of corruption. Few sub-Saharan leaders came to power through elections deemed free and fair by international observers, and six of the region’s leaders have ruled for more than a quarter century.
So why have sub-Saharan Africans not followed their MENA counterparts and launched an “African Spring”? We identify five primary reasons…
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