breaking-freeThere have been some gains and some losses in Africa in the past year, according to the Freedom in the World 2013 report issued by Freedom House. Each country is given a rating of between 1 and 7 for Political Rights and Civil Liberties, with 1 being the most free and 7 being the least free. Libya has progressed from “Not Free” to “Partly Free” in the wake of Gaddafi’s removal from power, while Mali has regressed to “Not Free” as a result of the military coup and Islamist insurgency.

In East Africa, the ratings of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda all declined during the year. Kenya is now rated 4 for both political rights and civil liberties, with the decline attributable to ethnic clashes in the Tana River Delta and the sporadic incidents of terrorist activity. Uganda is rated 5 for political rights and 4 for civil liberties, with suppression of opposition protests being a major factor during the year. Rwanda is rated “Not Free” with 6 for both political rights and civil liberties. Tanzania is rated 3 for both political rights and civil liberties.

Altogether, 90 countries in the world are rated Free, 58 countries are rated Partly Free, and 47 countries are rated Not Free. In sub-Saharan Africa, 36% of the population lives in countries rated as Not Free, 51% lives in countries rated Partly Free, and only 13% lives in countries rated as Free. This compares with Western Europe, where 85% of the population lives in countries rated as Free.

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